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