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Is hypermobility affecting your sleep? Do you toss and turn all night, trying to find a comfortable sleeping position? Do you wake up feeling unrefreshed? If you’re nodding your head in agreement with any of these questions, make sure you read on. We’ll tell you how and why hypermobility is affecting your sleep and help you optimize your sleep environment for better sleep.
Does hypermobility impact sleep?
Yes, people with hypermobility often complain they have difficulty falling asleep. Other common problems are waking up frequently during the night and waking up feeling unrefreshed.
People with hypermobility are also more likely to experience sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorder.
Why is hypermobility affecting
Firstly, the joint pain and stiffness that comes with hypermobility make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. As a result, you more than likely throw yourself around and switch positions frequently.
Secondly, hypermobility is known to cause muscle weakness and instability. This makes it difficult to maintain a comfortable sleeping position throughout the night. Finally, hypermobility and fatigue are common. And while you may be exhausted, it’s harder to get a good night’s sleep when you’re over-tired.
Do people with hypermobility need more sleep?
There isn’t any scientific evidence to suggest that people with hypermobility need more sleep than the general population. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need more sleep.
In fact, there are whole hypermobility forum topics and Facebook posts on it. I certainly need more sleep than people without hypermobility. And, if I don’t get an afternoon nap, I struggle badly with fatigue.
We’ve written a whole post dedicated to hypermobility and sleep, so head over there to find out more.
How to get better sleep with hypermobility?
When hypermobility is affecting your sleep, you need to do all you can to get as much of it as possible.
Here are a few tips to help you:
- Establish a consistent sleep routine – this means getting up and going to bed at the same time every day. Your internal body clock will thank you for doing this by helping you to fall asleep quickly.
- Avoid caffeine – caffeine and hypermobility don’t go together at the best of times. Drinking it before bed is definitely a bad idea as your body can process the effects of it for up to 6 hours.
- Avoid alcohol – alcohol can make you sleepy. But that doesn’t mean you should drink it before bed. Studies have found that alcohol consumption decreases sleep quality by up to 40%.
- Don’t eat before bed – eating before you sleep sends a signal to your gut to get to work digesting the food. It also results in 26 minutes less sleep and 3% less REM sleep. So, step away from your healthy hypermobility foods in the evening and save them for the following day.
- Get comfortable – 68.8% of people say they spend money on sleep accessories to help improve their sleep quality. A medium-firm mattress is one of the best mattresses for hypermobility as it provides support and comfort. You also need to invest in good-quality pillows, soft bedding, and cozy sleepwear.
How does your environment affect your sleep?
By now, you’ll be well aware that your hypermobility is affecting your sleep. But it’s not the only thing that could be hindering your shut-eye. Lots of things in your environment can stop you from sleeping too, including:
A cluttered environment can cause stress and anxiety, which can interfere with the ability to fall and stay asleep. One study found a link between sleep deprivation and the amount of clutter in the participants’ bedrooms.
A tidy bedroom, on the other hand, can promote a sense of calm and relaxation, helping to improve sleep quality.
Exposure to noise can disrupt sleep and lead to daytime fatigue and cognitive impairment. Even low-level noise can affect sleep quality. You may be able to control the noise in your own home to an extent. But noise coming from outdoors, such as from traffic and by passers, can’t be controlled. For this reason, use earplugs or a white noise machine to block out unwanted sounds and improve sleep.
Exposure to light, particularly blue light emitted by electronic devices, interferes with the body’s natural production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Researchers say that it prevents the release of melatonin for twice as long as a green light.
I even find that the dull light from the baby monitor stops me from sleeping. So, I stand a hardback book in front of it to block as much of the light as possible.
The body’s core temperature naturally drops as it prepares for sleep, so keeping the bedroom at a comfortable temperature can help facilitate this process. Most people sleep best in a cool environment, typically between 60-67°F (15-19°C). Use a bedroom thermometer to keep a close eye on the temperature while you prep for bed.
Comfort is an important factor in promoting restful sleep. Using a supportive mattress and pillow can help reduce pressure on joints and muscles. Most people with hypermobility say that a medium-firm mattress works best for them. And, if you struggle to find pillows for hypermobility, consider alternative-shaped ones, such as V-pillows and Z-pillows. You could even try sleeping on a Squishmallow.
Bedding made from soft, breathable materials can help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating too.
Poor air quality can cause respiratory problems. Combine with this with hypermobility and it’ll be affecting your sleep. Using a humidifier or air purifier can help keep the air in the bedroom clean and comfortable and reduce the impact of pollution on sleep quality.
For the best sleep, the humidity in your bedroom should be between 40% and 60%. A humidifier will help you maintain these levels so you can sleep better.
How to improve your sleep environment?
Now you know how your environment and hypermobility are affecting your sleep. Let’s find out how to improve your sleep environment to support your hypermobility and your sleep.
Use comfortable bedding
Choose bedding that is comfortable and non-irritating to your skin. Soft, breathable sheets and blankets made from natural materials like cotton or bamboo can help regulate body temperature and prevent overheating.
Try a body pillow
Use a body pillow to provide additional support and reduce pressure on your joints. A body pillow can be placed between your knees, under your hips, or along your back to help keep your spine properly aligned.
Get an adjustable bed
Consider investing in an adjustable bed. An adjustable bed allows you to customize your sleeping position to better support your joints and prevent discomfort.
Buy a weighted blanket
A weighted blanket can provide deep pressure stimulation, which can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
Remove electronics from your bedroom
Electronics stimulate your brain and affect the release of melatonin. Removing electronics from your bedroom can create a relaxing, sleep-promoting environment.
Essential oils, like lavender, chamomile, and bergamot promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. You can use a diffuser to spread the scent throughout your bedroom or add a few drops to your pillow before bedtime.
A tidy bedroom can help promote a sense of calm and relaxation, while a cluttered space can create stress and anxiety.
Keep your room dark
The darker your bedroom, the better your sleep will be. Researchers have found that sleeping in a light room results in less REM sleep, so make sure you turn all the lights off, pop on an eye mask, and invest in black-out blinds or drapes.
Put on sleep-inducing music
Music therapy is effective for people with insomnia, say scientists. Music helps relieve stress and anxiety so that your body and mind are calm. This then helps you to fall asleep. However, it’s best not to wear earbuds or headphones when you’re trying to sleep as these can be uncomfortable and wake you up during the night. Therefore, using a device like an Echo Dot is recommended.
The best sleep-inducing music is slow music or classical. But you may find other genres work for you. Amazon Music Unlimited gives you access to 100 million songs and has lots of sleep albums, sleep channels, and sleep stations you can choose from.
Put on an Audiobook
Audiobooks can calm you as you lay in bed, allowing you to drift off with ease. You could listen to an audiobook from your favorite author, an autobiography, or even a podcast.
It’s common for hypermobility to affect sleep. But by optimizing your sleep environment, you can be sure you get the best sleep possible. So, why not try one of t