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Sleep and Lupus

Sleep better when you have lupus

Sleep can make a big difference in how you feel — and healthy sleep habits are especially important for people with lupus. Getting enough sleep can help you prevent lupus flaresmanage fatigue, and keep your body’s immune system healthy.

How much sleep do I really need?

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Children and teens need a little more sleep. Learn more from the National Sleep Foundation.

How can I get better sleep?

Try these tips to improve your sleep — and feel better throughout the day.

Make your bedroom a good place for sleep

A calm and relaxing environment will make it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep.

  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark. If bright light outside your window is keeping you awake, blackout curtains or shades can help.
  • Choose a comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding.
  • If distracting sounds keep you up at night, try a white noise machine or a fan.
  • If your pets tend to wake you up during the night, have them sleep in another room.

Create a bedtime routine

Following the same routine every night is the key to sleeping well.

  • Make time to relax before bed. Activities like reading, journaling, or taking a warm bath can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
  • It’s best to stop eating an hour or 2 before bedtime. If you do eat a bedtime snack, choose something light and bland, like applesauce or crackers.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, like soda or coffee, before bed. Keep in mind that black or green teas can also contain caffeine.
  • Try to turn off electronic devices like your computer, tablet, smartphone, or TV 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • If you can’t sleep, try the 15-minute rule: If you lie awake in bed for more than 15 minutes, get up and relax in another room until you start to get sleepy.

Can alcoholic drinks help me sleep?

While alcohol can make you feel sleepy and relaxed, drinking before bed actually makes it harder to get high-quality, restful sleep — so you’re likely to feel tired the next day. Instead of alcohol, try a warm drink like caffeine-free herbal tea as part of your bedtime routine. Learn more about lupus and alcohol.

Create a morning routine

It’s important to wake up at the same time every day — even on weekends. Waking up at the same time helps keep your body on a schedule, which can make it easier for you to go to sleep at the same time every night.

Light can also help you wake up in the morning. If you have trouble getting out of bed, try a sunrise alarm clock. These clocks slowly get brighter until it’s time for you to wake up, helping you ease into the day.

Plan your naps

It’s important to take breaks when you need to — but napping too much during the day can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Plan ahead to get the rest you need:

  • Only have a few minutes? Aim for a 20 minute nap — you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
  • If you have time for a longer nap, make it 90 minutes. This gives your body enough time to finish a full sleep cycle, so you’ll wake up feeling well rested.
  • Try to nap at the same time every day. Early- to mid-afternoon naps work well to give you an energy boost in the middle of the day.
  • If you do need to nap later in the day, plan to wake up at least 3 hours before your bedtime. For example, if you want to go to bed at 9:30 p.m., make sure you’re done with your nap by 6:30 p.m. at the latest.

Get moving

Adding exercise to your daily routine can help you sleep better. It can also help you manage pain and fatigue. If you can, schedule your workout earlier in the day (at least 5 to 6 hours) before bedtime. This will give your body time to relax before bed and may improve your sleep more than evening exercise.

Learn more about exercise and how it can help you manage your lupus symptoms.

Talk to your doctor

If you’re still having trouble sleeping or if you often feel tired during the day, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may run some tests to make sure you don’t have a sleep disorder (a health problem that affects your sleep). Understanding what’s causing your sleep issues is the first step toward getting the rest you need.

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