Do we really NEED 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night? How important is it?
Ever since I’ve been on Enbrel I get by easily on 5 hours of sleep most nights, and I rarely nap during the day. People tell me I should be getting more sleep, but my body clock has its own alarm—if I fall asleep around 11 pm I’m up at 4:15 a.m., and can’t fall back asleep. If I fall asleep any earlier, I’m up even earlier.
I had insomnia several years ago and was told not to drink any caffeine after 12:00 noon. So I avoid caffeine after that time of the day…
Most days I don’t feel tired and definitely don’t have the crushing fatigue which was one of my big complaints while my PsA was ‘active’.
But I keep hearing it’s so important to get adequate sleep, and my health will suffer if I don’t.
I take one Tylenol pm each evening, but apparently it only lasts 5 hours.
My daughter safely took Unisom for sleep problems during her pregnancy, so I know it’s very safe, but I really don’t like the idea of getting “hooked” on a sleeping pill.
So, I’m asking how many people can relate—is it safe to run on less than the recommended hours of sleep—do you take sleep aids—does anybody else on a biologic have this problem?
I wish I didn’t need so much sleep!!! Nine hours is my ideal. Admittedly it’s pretty pain disrupted sleep after the first three/four hours even though I take amitryptyline at night to help with both sleep and pain. On top of this I usually need a nap after lunch-mid afternoon.
Even as a child I needed alot of nightime sleep, this didn’t change in my teens, twenties, thirties or forties (pre-PsA).
What PsA (and latterly fibro too) has brought is absolute crushing fatigue almost regardless of how much sleep I get. Being on a biologic improved things in the early days of Simponi but the fatigue is back these days with vengeance. Less than eight hours sleep and I fail to function. And I’d say I feel tired all the time, even shortly after getting up from a “good” nights sleep.
So I think the answer to your question is that it is a very individual thing. Some people need more sleep than others but I do think there is probably a minimum which everyone needs for essential health, healing and wellbeing. After all sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture.
If you’re looking for some nightime pain relief and sleep help then I’d recommend asking your rheumy/PCP about amitryptline. I think it’s a fairly standard script for PsA’ers.
I find that if I consistently go to bed at the same time, I wake up around 5 hours of sleep. If I go back to sleep for 2-3 more hours I generally feel worse from a pain and stiffness standpoint, but I get tired quicker during the day, so its a balancing act for sure.
Do you think 5 hours is natural for you? Or could it be something that has happened due to your responsibilities over the years? If the latter, you could try re-training yourself to get perhaps an additional hour’s sleep a night in order to see if it helps your health. I’m not quite sure how you’d do that, I guess it’s a ‘simple’ matter of forcing yourself to stay in bed that long till your body gives in & sleeps!
I’m quite envious. I need 7 or 8 hours’ sleep a night and quality sleep at that. There again, I have had years of chronic insomnia in the past so I appreciate sleep very much indeed!
And if someone told me that 5 hours sleep - no more, no less - was required for PsA patients, I wouldn’t take any notice 'cos I’m doing just fine on 7 - 8 thanks very much! I guess the same may well apply to you, only the other way round.
I think we all do have individual needs, but my guess is it’s probably better for your body to be getting close to the “minimum” that is quoted by medical professionals.
Even when on steroids, I tend to try and keep a daily regular routine that keeps me in bed, relaxed, for a minimum of 7 hours. If I am on steroids and can’t sleep, that sometimes means I end up spending around an hour meditating (about half an hour at night and again in the morning), and maybe another hour making up recipes, or planning some garden renovations (these are all things that calm me).
I didn’t do this at the start - then when the steroids finished, I’d still find it really hard to sleep for the minimum 7 or 8 hours, despite being exhausted, not just because of pain, but because my body and brain were not in the habit of being “switched off” for that long each day.
It has taken years for me to train myself to sleep better, but it does eventually seem to have worked. For me it’s important, because the number one reason I’ll get a flare is usually sleep deprivation, but it may not be as important to most people.
Now, unfortunately, I’m very envious of you ability to get by without lots of sleep! My “normal” has becom 9 hours a night (and that’s usually pretty solid, as I’m not usually in pain bad enough to be disruptive), then another two in the day.
I only sleep a few hours at a time (being a 65+ man does that) round the clock. I’m as likley to be active at 3:00AM as 3:00PM but I find if I do a modified stretch routine between bouts I get a lot more refreshed.
Speaking of envious, I AM envious of people who can sleep 7 or 8 hours at night. I do get about one good 8 hour nights’ sleep a week, which is so weird–it’s usually on the weekend when I don’t have reason to be up early. Not that I feel I need 7 or 8 hours, but I’ve always heard it’s the amount of sleep we typically need.
Yes, for me it’s nice not sleeping the day away–obviously I feel pretty good or I’m sure I’d be getting more sleep. I do tend to think that there will come a day when all I do is sleep (underground about 6 feet) and I have a tendency to think too much sleep is a waste of my precious time!
But, after starting this discussion, it dawned on me that some of my weakness and eye problems are aggravated by insufficient sleep. So, I decided I’m going to try and get more–even 7 hours at night if I somehow can and possibly a short nap during the day…
The amitriptyline–I have nortriptyline, which is probably about the same. I haven’t been taking it because the med info has a warning about taking it if you have heart problems. With having the stent, I don’t feel safe taking it…maybe someone can assure me it would still be safe to take.
That sounds like a plan. Must be worth experimenting with trying to get a little more sleep, it certainly can’t hurt.
When I don’t sleep well the effect is dramatic. It’s amazing the impact the slightest thing can have with PsA, the body becomes such a tyrant & it’s difficult to know when to take the hint and when to ignore things. I am pretty sure trying to push through the kind of fatigue that comes out of nowhere is the way to go, for me anyway. But I am equally sure a regular, moderate amount of sleep is beneficial to me. Is sleep a painkiller? I believe it reduces inflammation …
Personally I try - and sometimes fail - to avoid napping. Sometimes a short nap is restorative, but I find it can mess up the precious sleep pattern the tyrant demands!
Apropos of something or nothing, I recall talking to an elderly woman who had had about 8 children. She said she’d basically given up sleeping as a result, she’d just got out of the habit. I’m sure that was a slight exaggeration, but there’s something in it.
I think that napping, if you don’t really need it, has been demonstrated to be detrimental to sleep patterns. There was a time, when I napped then seemed not to be able to sleep at night, I decided to stop napping, and that seemed to help my overall sleep.
Currently, not napping, is so detrimental to my life (and doesn’t stop me from sleeping solidly between 9-11 hours each night), that I kind of consider my naps essential - like food, or oxygen. It feels sort of sad in a way - I feel like I’m missing out on life because I spend so much time tired, or asleep, or trying to wake up.
My Rheumy is pretty convinced this is not normal PsA. My psychologist is pretty convinced it’s not as a result of anxiety or depression. Next stop a neurologist, and after that, perhaps consideration of chronic fatigue… though I have had that diagnosis once before, and that turned out so very wrong.
For the first time since diagnosis, 6 years ago, it is so tempting to live out what I can on steroids. Sigh… but I know at the rate I need to take them, that’s only likely to be a couple of years until the big complications hit, and my daughter only just turned 8…
More naps it is for me!!!
Typical night…fell asleep around 11:00, woke up at 3:52…I spent about a half hour trying to fall back asleep when my phone pinged -my son is on his way home from Switzerland and he had to tell me he missed his connecting flight in Paris…so we texted for awhile.
Now it’s 5:25 and I’m gonna try to sleep but this IS ridiculous! And, my left eye burns and the lid is weak…so yeah. I might not be bright-eyed, but I am bushy tailed (whatever that expression means) and ready to go! Goodnight!
Oh well, you do know if you are having sleep issues there are myriads of lectures out there telling you to GET YOUR PHONE OUT of your goshdarn room!
IDK in your case - if your insticts tell you this is a temporary thing where you are burning the candles at both ends and it will soon come crashing down… then I’d really encourage you to look at a change.
On the other hand, if it seems normal and sustainable for you, then maybe just give yourself the extra half hour in bed for relaxation (mediation, reading, hell, the horizontal mamba if you have access to it ), and think how lucky you are the Enbrel is still working so great for you
It would be normal for me, with a bad flare-up. Actually it’d be pretty good with a really bad flare-up, 'cos I’d have intermittent ‘wake-ups’ as opposed to the occasional nap. If you’re not flaring that does seem weird. But is it the case that biologics can sometimes suppress some symptoms and not others? To the extent perhaps that we could have an even more atypical flare than is usual with a disease that rarely follows patterns?
“My Rheumy is pretty convinced this is not normal PsA”
This is exactly why my rheumy determined that I also have fibro. Unexplained fatigue, non-restorative sleep.
Yes, and fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue might be a better fit. But without the tender points fibromyalgia doesn’t seem to match well. I did wonder if what Sybil says about suppressing some symptoms and not others might be the case - interestingly I seem to be getting “stiffness” flares with only a little pain (compared to pre-biologics).
I’m switching to cimiza, so we’ll see if that helps. Sorry for the hijack Grandma J!
Have you been talking with my better half??? Ah, er, I think I’ll bite my tongue and not get myself into trouble talking about that subject! Everybody who knows me knows it’s really hard for me to “zip it”! —especially when it comes to interesting subjects like that one!
And, nope, Jen, I keep my cell phone with me most of the time—it’s also my alarm clock. Once in a great while, like what happened a couple weeks ago with my granddaughter going to the ER at 2:30 a.m., somebody needs me and I’d feel terrible if I missed a distress call!
P.S. Don’t ever apologize about hijacking my discussion—I’ve done it, too…sometimes one topic easily leads into another!
For sure, Sybil. And, since the disease isn’t specific to one group of joints, really, or one type of pain, it makes sense that the biologics work so different for each individual. Like me with my hyper body and not needing much sleep—I feel certain that’s a SE of Enbrel because it seems to have started when I started Enbrel—possibly because it “cured” my crushing fatigue so well it’s almost having a ridiculously over-the-top effect that way!
Yes,I’m definitely thankful for how good Enbrel has made my life, and I’m not complaining about the lack of sleep—just wondering if others have this, too.
Grandma, it’s interesting you should mention this as I’m finding it very difficult to sleep on Benapali (which is a biosimilar of Enbrel). I find it quite similar to being on steroids, actually, but frustrating because I WANT to sleep but really can’t for the most part. And then I end up waking up after six hours or so and then dozing off and on, and end up staying in bed longer than I normally would!
Sadly I’ve had troublesome PsA pain the last few days for the first time since I started taking the injections. I hope it’s not a sign that they are stopping working already. We shall see!
Aw, darinfan, I hope the trouble you’re having lately with pain is just a break-through flare that’ll settle down soon. I think it’s common for the flares to do that even when a biologic or biosimilar is working…maybe you need a little help with occasional NSAIDs?
Well, you could say it’s sort of like being on steroids, minus the brain fog, which I almost always seem to have! Sure would be nice if my brain was clear all of the time like when I was on Prednisone! I felt much smarter.
Darinfan, from all the members posts on here, it’s normal when a biologic works to have a few breakthrough flares - not pretending it’s fun, but if theres no consistent decline, then there’s not a reason for too much worry.
I do hope it’s a flare, which is certainly what I experienced for many years, whilst the Humira stayed effective, the flares still broke through. Not perfect, but a whole lot better than rampant disease!
Thanks. It seems better today. I kept the heating on high all night, which often helps a great deal with the PsA. But now I can’t do that as they boiler was serviced and is found to be faulty, so now it is switched off until the landlord gets it fixed, which will be the end of the week. No proper heating, no hot water - even for the shower. Not what you want with PsA and immunosuppressant drugs!