Getting enough sleep when you have juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

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Sleep is an important part of your well-being. It can help you to concentrate and manage your stress better. Do you remember from "Managing your symptoms," how many hours of sleep you need each night for your body to function at its best? If you don’t remember, go back to check!

Not getting enough sleep can make some JIA symptoms even worse. If you don’t sleep, you will be tired and will not feel like exercising. Without exercise, your joints can become more stiff and painful. Lack of sleep over a long period of time can also lead to changes in your body metabolism and can cause weight gain.

Here are some more tips to help you get a good night’s sleep. You can also refer back to some more tips in the pages on fatigue.

  • No pills, vitamins, or drinks can replace good sleep. Consuming caffeine close to bedtime can hurt your sleep. Avoid coffee, tea, soda/pop, and chocolate late in the day so you can get to sleep at night. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol will also interfere with your sleep.
  • If you feel sleepy, call someone else for a ride. Fatigue is as dangerous as drunk driving; when you are sleep deprived, you are as impaired as a drunk driver. Drowsy driving causes multiple accidents and crashes each year.
  • Try keeping a diary or to-do lists. If you jot notes down before you go to sleep, you’ll be less likely to stay awake worrying or stressing.
  • When you hear your friends talking about their “all-nighters”, remind yourself how good you will feel after getting enough sleep. If you are going to lose sleep, make sure it is for something really important to you. Staying up late to study doesn’t usually help very much. You will be so tired that you will not be able to concentrate very well during the test or exam.
  • Most young people experience changes in their sleep schedules as they get older. Your internal body clock can make you fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the day. You can’t change this, but you can participate in activities such as gym and other classes to help overcome your sleepiness during the day. If you feel awake at night, make sure your activities at that time are relaxing to help make you sleepier.

What are your goals for getting enough sleep? Are they SMART goals? Remember that S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely – can be achieved in a realistic time-frame
Last updated: January 31st 2017