Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My RA Bedroom...the ABC's of getting some zzzzzzz's

My RA Bedroom:

I think I picked this room first to apply my KISS principle to because it is one of my favorite rooms in my home and because I use this room so much.

There are several good blogs written on the best mattress to select when living with ra and rather then rehash that topic, I am providing you with the links below for you to check out yourself. But the short of the mattress matter is two types seem to be rising to the forefront with ra sufferers: the sleep number bed and the tempur-pedic mattress. Both of these beds sell adjustable electric frames which allow you to raise or lower the head of the bed as needed.  

Now you are probably asking yourself what type of bed does Deb own.  I am still using my mattress from almost ten years ago but I suspect that within the next two years I will be venturing down the mattress shopping isle.  I currently own a pillow top type that I paid over $1,200 for ten years ago. Mattresses can be expensive and I am trying to hold off for as long as possible.  I am not sure which mattress I would buy but I have had the opportunity to sleep on the tempur-pedic mattress for a few weeks. It was a little too hot for me. And I would have to check carefully on the sleep number bed as I have kitties. Kitties have claws and I am not sure how kitty claws would do on an air type bed. I am still up in the air on my decision.

I am going to cover pretty much everything else that might make living with ra easier for you in your bedroom. Call this my wish list for the most functioning ra room around.  But, just like medications, our bedroom must work for us.  Surround yourself with what works for your ra and your particular challenges or needs.

The RA Bed:

  1. Various pillows that contour to your body (maybe even a full length body pillow for those hard to sleep nights) but not so many that they overtake your bed. And you may want to consider a good support pillow for reading.
  2. Set of cotton sheets that are large enough for ra hands to easily make the bed (of course as I have previously written…if you can hire housekeeping help, by all means do it!). I say cotton because often we with ra sweat at night and for me the cotton has worked best with this problem. I love all things cotton!
  3. A lightweight summer cover like a quilt for the bed during the summer. Again I prefer cotton.
  4. A lightweight  comforter for the cold months (the key here is lightweight!) or an electric blanket if you prefer to snuggle under. The more layers you put on your bed, the harder it is to make the bed. I have an alternate down one in white as I have down allergies and down can be heavy.
Everything else in my ra bedroom:

  1. remote controlled fan
  2. flat screen tv mounted on the wall for easy viewing and a no strain neck position along with a dvd or blue ray player.
  3. A solid chair that you can use for sitting or when you need to put your shoes on. I prefer one with arms as they help me to get up and down.
  4. Dressers with big knobs. I use to have a dresser with handles but my fingers often got stuck in the handles. Knobs can be harder to grab but they work better for me personally…no more trapped swollen fingers.  If your current dresser does have tiny knobs you might want to change them out with bigger ones. Use what works best for you. And drawers that don't require two hands are always better then drawers that do.
  5. A nightstand with big drawers to fit all of my ra medications, rubbing creams, and pain patches on my side of the bed. Nightstands are great in bedrooms whether you have ra or not but I feel they are essential for people with ra.  Mine also has a nice shelf on the bottom where I keep my current reading materials. If you have small children in your home, you probably shouldn't keep any medications in your night stand where the webbies can get to them.
  6. Lamps with touch control.  I don't have these types of lamps anymore as I have kitties….you get the picture here. I do miss my lamps!
  7. Enough room on the side of your bed where you can leave your slippers on the floor. I must have slippers on my feet at all times when I am in my home. I have bad ra in my feet. To be honest I also keep a pair of sneakers at my bedside because some days my feet are too bad for slippers…I need the running shoes with the support on my feet before I get up and get moving at all.
  8. An outlet close enough to your bed to plug in your laptop computer so you can read my blog easily (just kidding)  and any other electric things like an electric blanket or heating pad. But be sure that the cord runs along the wall and doesn't lay across the floor which would make it a tripping hazard.
  9. No extra throw rugs anywhere in the room. Throw rugs tend to trip up people with  ra no matter how well taped down they may be.
  10. Have clear access on at least one side of your bed if you use a wheelchair. And there should be enough room to maneuver the chair easily to access the dresser and closet in the room.  A lower dresser will be needed if you use a wheelchair. And you may have to downsize your bed to accommodate a wheelchair if this is a new ra accessory for you. 
  11. Room enough on one side of the bed if you have a walker and room enough to maneuver easily around the room.
  12. If you have a cane then you may want to consider a way to ensure that it doesn't fall over when you aren't using it. Maybe an umbrella stand or if your hands are capable enough a fastener or hook on the wall to keep it off the floor completely.
For me ambiance is critical in my ra bedroom:

  1. Choose colors that will soothe you. 
  2. surround yourself with artwork that lightens your mood.
  3. be sure your windows have room darkening capabilities. Sleeping with ra can be difficult enough, having the sun blaring you in the eyes will just make it that much worse. Daytime naps are often needed with ra. And least we not forget. 
  4. a radio or cd player so you can surround yourself with your favorite music or a cd player with headsets at the very least.  
  5. I also have scent ports in my room that I fill depending on my mood. Scents can help to lift your spirits or calm your frayed nerves. There are also natural scents out there if you prefer.

But do keep in mind that if your ra room is made too comfortable, you will have your entire family wanting in on this new great ra retreat. Anyone say sleepover!

Additional reading:
Tips on Making Your Bed: Arthritis Foundation


Unknown said...

Making the bed with RA can be one of the hardest things to do. And like you I love lots of pillows. And my room must be too comfortable because our border collie is always snuggled up at my feet. However, I wouldn't want it any other way. By the way, I love your wood floors. That is high on my wish list for things I would like to do to improve our house.

Anonymous said...

My room and house are going to be a huge problem if I ever need a chair. The air pockets in the sleep numbers are buried deep so kitty claws should never be an issue. I diddnt like them at all and went with the store brand memory foam. It is kinda hot but I have a thick cotton cover on it. I have one of those foam mats beside my bed (the kind they sell for infront of the sink) Makes those first few steps in the morning much less painful.
Keep up the good work! Ann

Jan said...

New sheets with those deep corners really help. I'm going to have to give away the old ones that are too hard to put on beds now. Your kitties are so cute, as is your bedroom. Unfortunately, mine has piles of books in the corners.

Also, I so appreciate your comments and support at my RA blog!

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Jan...yup the deeper the better. Course a housekeeper is really the best if one can afford it :-) And I love my furr babies. We added them about one year ago and I am sooo glad we did.
Anonymous...great idea about the cushy mat. The first steps can be a killer for ra feet indeed! And thanks for the info. on the air mattress :-)
Cathy...I love the wood floors too! We bought this home just about 2 years ago and I had made up a hit list of must haves (I was 10 years into my ra journey). The wood floor was at the top of the list after 2 bathrooms. I believe animals love comfort just as much as we do :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog. I love this post. I have nearly everything you mentioned. I also got one of the foam mats that Jan mentioned. I will say that since the Cimzia kicked in I can actually walk on my wood floors in bare feet now. Woohoo!!

Oh, and I love your kitties. Cute!

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Joan...Wooohoooo for your footsies being usable! Now that means dancing time for you :-) I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I started the blog to cover some of the things I couldn't find online like everything else in an ra bedroom but the mattress in the hopes of adding two more helpful cents:-) And my kitties...well I am sure they will appear as my mascot in future posts...I love them too! They make me laugh so much.

Lyda said...

I'm a big fan of comfy beds. I will invest any money into the best possible bedding. Hell, you sleep on it every night, you should be comfortable!

And any time adorable kittens are involved I'm a fan. ;-)

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Lyda..I agree with you about investing in a good bed. We spend more time in our bed then in our cars and just think how much we spend on a car :-0
And a bed impacts how we feel every day also. And I figured everyone would enjoy my kitties a heck of alot more then my face plastered across the Thanks for commenting.

Unknown said...

Hi, Thanks for your blog. I have finally capitulated to my RA. My house is now slowly being transformed to meet my needs and make life bearable. I would make a comment about what has helped me in my bedroom.

1. Ikea bed (I got mine from Craigslist for $225 incl. side tables)with the upgraded slat base (mine new from Ikea $200 but they range from $80-300). I am now able to lift BOTH the head and the foot of my mattress! (either or both)

2. Ikea foam mattress (SULTAN FINNVIK $299.00 no box springs needed due to slatted base). I got the "hard" foam mattress. Until this one, I never realised that the foam could be hard. So it slowly forms to my body...but as soon as I roll over the foam fills in where my body left it. I feel like am being gently cradled in my bed (the only place I find pain relief now!)

3. Down comforter, or alternative comforter (had mine forever). Ikea sells many different weights (depending on how warm or cool you need to be) They are much warmer than the traditional american style of top sheet, blanket (cold), blanket (still cold) pain cuz too many heavy. :-/ plus added is easy to free my feet (feet burn sometimes) from the cover.

4. French bedding system. Again Ikea, lol... Dump the blankets and the flat sheet and simply buy a duvet/comforter sheet cover (actual sheet material..not a fancy cover) like a bag that covers your down/alternative comforter. Washed just like sheets ($20-$45 avg cost)every week. So a summary of how the bed is made...fitted sheet and down comforter covered by sheet duvet cover. (oh and covered in multiple different kinds of ;-P how you make your bed in the morning is to fold your duvet in half and have it rest on the bottom half of your bed. This allows both the bed and the cover to air out as we tend to sweat at night... I used to live in Germany and they believe it is unhygienic to cover the bed within the first couple of hours after rising.

Amazingly enough, after visiting my family over xmas... I now realise how much harder it is to use and make the bed with the trad. American style. I will put a pic of my new bed on my profile. I am brand new at this... so I don't know if others can see it or not. :-)

oh last thing...a travel neck pillow (the one with teeny tiny beads is my fav).. I can squish it many diff ways depending on what hurts at the mo (I have Fibro as well).

Love ur blog. Hope I can create mine to be as nice. :-) Cheers, Robin

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

What wonder suggestions! Thanks for sharing. And I do plan on checking out your blog. You have alot to offer :-)

Unknown said...

Thank you for such wonderful suggestions, I suffer from nerve damage in my torso so spend a lot of time in bed. Even if you can't sleep having a nice, comfortable, calming place to go is important.
Over the last couple of years when I realised that I wouldn't get better, I decided on getting some really nice soft colourful bedding (in the sale!) and a topper for the bed. Seeing it cheers me up and the smooth sheets stop the 'princess and the pea moments'!
I make sure that I have lots to things on hand if I can't sleep, books, notepad and pen, kindle and of course cat treats.
I don't know if you have problems with heat, but my pain gets much worse during the summer I use something called a chillow - a mat filled with a gel that can cool you down. I lie on it when it gets hot, but you can also slip it into a pillow to cool your head.
PS, I love your kitties, I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have my cat :)

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