A gout flare-up is an unpleasant experience, largely due to the pain. Making matters more miserable, these flare-ups often occur in the middle of the night, waking you from your restful slumber and making falling back asleep difficult. As a result, you may not get enough sleep, which can worsen your gout, creating an unwanted cycle.
To help you break free, the team of podiatry experts here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, with 10 locations throughout Tennessee, presents a few tips for better managing your sleep when you have gout.
Research tells us that gout flare-ups are 2.4 times more likely to occur at night. When you have a gout flare-up, uric acid builds in your joints, creating sharp crystals that can lead to pain and inflammation.
There are several reasons uric may build up more at night, including:
Interestingly, the lack of oxygen factor is further supported by the fact that people with sleep apnea are 50% more likely to develop gout.
Since gout tends to flare at nighttime, you may be losing sleep. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep may also increase your chances of a flare-up, as research shows that poor sleep duration is associated with higher uric acid levels.
Given what we know about the link between sleep and gout, there are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to manage it.
For example, since dehydration may play a role in uric acid buildup, it’s essential that you stay well hydrated throughout the day — about 11-16 cups of water. That way, you can head into your sleep with a good level of hydration.
As well, avoid habits that can further disrupt your sleep, such as taking caffeine later in the day, drinking alcohol, and going to bed at different times. If you have gout, you should make every effort to have good sleep hygiene, which means practicing a consistent routine for bedtime.
Also, pay close attention to your diet and steer clear of foods that contain high levels of purines, such as game meats, fish, and seafood.
Another great way to ensure good sleep is to get some exercise during the day. Not only will this effort tire you out, but it can also fight inflammation and help your body to process uric acid more efficiently.
Finally, be sure to have what you need on hand at night should a flare-up occur — medications, ice packs, and a pillow to elevate your foot.
If you want more advice on how to better manage your sleep and your gout, please contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, or Lebanon to schedule an appointment.