How to Sleep Better As an Amputee

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 by JPO Blogger

prosthetic sleep

It’s not just a beauty thing.

In addition to warding off dark circles and a drained complexion, a full night of uninterrupted sleep can prevent diabetes, sharpen memory, boost mood, and reduce chronic pain. If you’re dreaming of a solid, deep, wonderful sleep but prosthetic-related pain is blocking you, Jonesboro Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratory can help make those dreams a reality with these simple fixes:

  1. Stretch daily: Promoting blood flow, easing tension, and preventing injury, stretching keeps your muscles flexible and your body working holistically. Stretching before bedtime has the added benefit of centering and slowing your breathing to relax both body and mind before you hit the hay, paving the way to a smoother sleep. Additionally, it can align your joints to make lying down more comfortable.
  2. Shower before bed: A hot shower might wake you up in the morning, but it also causes swelling in your limb that creates an uncomfortable, improper fit with your prosthesis afterwards. Bathing before bedtime not only helps your prosthesis fit when you wake up, it can soothe and relax limbs from a long day of use and help you slip into sleep more quickly.
  3. Be careful with pillows: Below-knee amputees should never sleep with a pillow, blanket, or other cushioned support under the knee. This can cause a contracture, inhibiting your ability to straighten your knee. For above-knee amputees, limbs resting on pillows misaligns the hip, and support between the legs improperly lengthens the inner thigh and shortens the outer thigh, throwing off walking balance. Train your body to find comfort lying in more evenly supported positions.
  4. Take preventative steps: If your limb experiences painful cramps in the middle of the night, treat it as you would any other muscle cramp. Drinking water and eating foods high in potassium throughout the day help fuel and relax the agitated muscles, and a gentle five-minute massage of the limb and surrounding muscles before bed can help stimulate the tension. For particularly intense nights of cramps, ibuprofen and a heating pad can help provide relief.
  5. Attach devices bright & early: For limbs adjusting to prosthetic use, attach them in the morning immediately after sitting up. Shifting from a horizontal to vertical position increases blood flow to extremities, creating swelling in newer residual limbs. Ensure a comfortable and proper fit by keeping your legs or arms from dangling over the side of your bed and limiting the time you’re sitting up and moving before attaching the prosthetic.

Total body wellness is a 24/7 process. If you have questions about achieving greater nighttime comfort, give us a call today.

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