Making sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep is important if you or your loved one has a long-term illness. A long-term illness (also known as a chronic condition), is a health problem that needs continuous management over a long time. A long-term condition usually cannot be cured, but is controlled by medication and/or other therapies.
Having a long-term medical illness can make it difficult to get quality sleep. Chronic illnesses can often cause disruptions when sleeping, which may lead to fatigue, decreased concentration, and reduced functioning of the immune system. These implications can sometimes worsen a person’s long-term illness and impact their quality of life.
There are hundreds of types of long-term conditions, some of which include:
- Cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, angina)
- Chronic respiratory illnesses (asthma, (COPD) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Chronic neurological diseases (multiple sclerosis)
- Other long term clinical conditions (e.g. chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer)
At Opera, we’re here to find the best bed to suit you or someone you care for. Our range of profiling beds and adjustable beds are designed to make life at home easier and help individuals living with a long-term illness. If you or a loved one have a long-term illness or medical condition, our helpful team can help you find the best solution.
If you'd like to buy a hospital bed, speak with our helpful team to get started.
Why is it so important to get good sleep when you have a chronic condition?
Having a long-term illness can impact daily life - both physically and mentally. Sleep is extremely important for everyone, but particularly when you have a health condition.
Here are some of the main reasons why getting a good night's sleep is imperative when you have a chronic disease:
- The body needs rest to repair itself: During sleep, our bodies secrete hormones which set out to repair cells and tissues in the body. This is particularly important for those with a chronic illness, as it helps the body repair from the daily damage caused by the condition, allowing it to recover.
- Sleep helps reduce pain: Pain is a common symptom of many long-term health conditions. Getting quality sleep on a regular basis can help to reduce pain levels and improve comfort and quality of life.
- Quality sleep can improve mental health: Sleep plays a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions. People with long-term illnesses may be more vulnerable to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Getting enough sleep every night can help to reduce this, as well as helping those with long-term mental illness.
- Better cognitive function: Sleep is essential for our memory, learning and problem-solving. People with long-term health conditions may experience cognitive impairments - getting adequate sleep can help improve their cognitive function.
- Increased energy levels: Many chronic health conditions can cause fatigue and exhaustion. A good night's sleep can help to restore your energy levels.
How to get better sleep with a long-term illness
If you or someone you care for has a long-term health condition, there are several ways to help improve their quality of sleep. We've listed several ways to improve your sleep at night, which are particularly helpful for those with chronic medical illnesses.
1. Your bed should provide proper support
For someone with a chronic illness, having the right bed can be crucial in getting a good night's sleep and managing their symptoms. People who have a long-term medical illness, pain or mobility issues should be properly supported in bed. In doing so, this helps to reduce pressure points on the body and alleviate pain.
Standard beds do not provide the same support as adjustable beds. Our electric adjustable beds give postural support by elevating the back and leg rest. Those with a long-term condition can find it much easier to be supported in bed from a range of sleeping and sitting positions.
In many instances, those with long-term health conditions spend more time in bed, so it’s important they remain comfortable during that time.
Here at Opera, we specialise in three main types of beds.
Profiling care beds – Also known as ‘medical beds’ or ‘hospital beds’, these items are designed to help make care at home easier. Our range of profiling care beds have height adjustment features (where the whole bed raises and lowers) to help the user get in and out. Our care beds also help health care providers deliver on-bed care and are available with side rails for added safety.
Adjustable beds – These beds are designed for comfort and support. Our range of adjustable beds include specific features for better sleep and comfort. These include back and leg adjustment, a zero-gravity mode and an anti-snore mode.
Rotating chair beds – Our rotating chair beds are designed to promote independence. They're advanced electric adjustable beds that transform users from a lying position to an upright chair. As well as helping health care providers care for the user, they also promote increased independence.
Depending on the type of long-term illness and needs of you or your loved one, the right bed can make a difference in getting a great night’s sleep. If you are unsure which bed type is most suitable, our team is happy to assist you with a free consultation.
2. Going to bed at the same time helps with sleep
Sticking to a sleep schedule is important for those with a long-term illness as it helps regulate the body’s internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that influences your sleep wake cycle, hormone production and metabolism.
For individuals with chronic diseases (such as diabetes, heart disease or depression), disruptions to the circadian rhythm can have negative effects on their health. Irregular sleep patterns and insufficient sleep can contribute to the worsening of symptoms and may lead to ongoing health complications in the future.
Going to bed at the same time each night helps the body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep and health. Meanwhile, it can also help people with long-term illnesses by reducing stress, improving their mood, increasing productivity and increasing alertness during the daytime.
3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it harder to fall asleep. Research shows that caffeine consumption can delay the timing of your body clock, which is essential to getting a good night’s sleep for those with a long-term health condition.
Caffeine also reduces the amount of deep sleep you can have, which is the period in which the body is fully relaxed and begins to restore itself. Alcohol can also disrupt sleep later during the night. For those with long-term ill health, this disruption can lead to discomfort and pain from being kept awake. Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol may also start to impede your daily activities and have a lasting impact on health.
4. Being active promotes better sleep
Incorporating daily exercise and moving about is a great way to help get better sleep. Being active is good for both physical and mental health, allowing you to sleep better. For those with a long-term illness that affects mobility, gentle exercises such as lifting your legs and stretching from a seated position can also help.
However, it’s important to not over exercise too close to when you go to bed. Vigorous exercises doesn’t allow your body to cool down, which can delay sleep, affect sleep quality and cause night time awakening.
Relaxation techniques are also a good way to unwind before bed for a better night's sleep. These include deep breathing, meditation or light stretching, which can reduce stress and help the body relax before bed.
Our range of adjustable beds are designed for a great night’s sleep. As standard, our adjustable beds have a zero-gravity mode which lets you fully relax in a weightless position. Meanwhile, if you or your loved one has a chronic condition that causes pain or discomfort in the lower body, an adjustable bed can help provide better sleep.
Sleeping with your legs raised up helps improve circulation which can benefit those with long-term conditions like deep-vein thrombosis (DBT) or chronic venous insufficiency (also known as oedema).
Getting help if you have a long-term health condition
If you are struggling with your sleep despite making these changes, it is always worth consulting with your local GP or healthcare professional. Depending on the chronic illness you or someone you care for has, they may be able to make referrals to specialist consultants, dietitians or other specialists.
There are also registered charities that can provide advice and support for those living with a long-term illness.
How Opera can support getting better sleep with a long-term illness
At Opera, we're proud to have helped thousands of customers struggling with poor-quality sleep due to chronic illness. Our wide range of beds caters to varying conditions and is designed to enhance your quality of life.
We've enhanced the quality of life for thousands of people in the years that we've been in the medical bed business. We're dedicated to giving you a new lease on life, if you suffer from a chronic illness.
We have a dedicated showroom where you can try out our beds to find the best option for your needs - you can book a visit here.
If you would like us to guide you to the perfect solution, book your free consultation with a member of our team.