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How to Sleep When You Wear a Prosthetic Limb
Jo Beckwith @footlessjo
The Daily Doze
Living with limb loss is a life-long journey for more than 2 million Americans, and counting.
These strong-willed individuals have to overcome many hurdles in order to live a regular life. They courageously conquer their day-to-day challenges -- including getting a good night’s sleep.
This month, we highlight the importance of Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness. We’ve partnered with someone who is living proof of how tireless effort leads the way forward:
Jordan ‘Jo’ Beckwith (@footlessjo on Instagram) is a below-knee amputee, an advocate, and a YouTube creator focusing her content on disability & mental health awareness.
She shares her unique perspective with us here, including the best tips she uses to sleep better. We hope it shines a light to inspire others to overcome this trial, just like she does every day.
At the age of 13, Jo fell off while she was horseback riding in Colorado Springs. Her ankle was fractured. From then on, she underwent many surgeries but still had limited capabilities to move and had long-term pain.
Jo started wearing a prosthetic at the age of 27. It was a big decision for her to get her leg amputated, but she went on bravely to the unknown, hoping it could all work out.
After her final surgery, she was optimistic to be finally working towards a life that could bring her back to her normal routine, which included figuring out to sleep in her own bed again.
Sleep & Prosthetics
People often ask Jo, “Do you sleep with your prosthetic on?”
The Answer is NEVER – (except that one time she accidentally did because she was tired!). Here’s why:
- Prosthetic legs are amazing, but it isn’t comfortable after wearing them for hours. “I get sore spots or it would start feeling constricted.”
- The skin needs a break with some fresh air. “My leg is in an enclosed sleeve all day, sweating & warm.”
- Prosthetic legs have a lot of metal or carbon fiber parts. “Accidentally knocking into my metal ankle or kicking my husband in my sleep would not feel great!”
Tips to Better Sleep for Amputees
- Have a good sleeping position.
Jo shared that she prefers to sleep on her right side. Find what’s comfortable for you to achieve better sleep. One trick Jo shared was to try sleeping with a pillow under your limb for support. Above-the-knee amputees should avoid having a pillow between their legs for best comfort.
- Wake up and fall asleep at the same times to regulate your circadian rhythm
A daily routine helps with achieving your goals to be consistent in falling asleep and waking up. Set up a schedule and stick with it. We always recommend you avoid caffeine and electronic screen time before bed, too.
- Shower in the evening
Bathing about 90 minutes before bedtime can help you relax, fall asleep faster, and also improve your sleep quality. Heat from morning showers can cause your limbs to swell, making wearing a prosthetic all day less comfortable. Avoid those aches and pains by showering at night -- and you don’t have to wear your prosthetic again before going to sleep.
- Proper exercises and positions
Working out builds strength – improving your standing posture, balance, and muscle tone. It also reduces back pain and helps you support your body weight. Here are some exercise techniques that bear weight around the center of gravity to help amputees orient and thrive with prosthetics:
You are worth it
Overcoming sleeping challenges when you wear a prosthetic limb might be difficult at first – there are a lot of habits and lifestyle changes (beyond the bedroom) that you may not have realized were related to your sleep health.
However, your effort, investment, practice and perseverance goes a long way towards getting the good night’s sleep you truly deserve.
You should have the best sleep support you can get. Find it all here with us.
We are the only mattress company that originated in the healthcare industry. For our almost 30 years of experience, MajesticBeds has come to understand the pain people with medical issues suffer when trying to sleep comfortably. We offer specific designs on our website for individual needs and symptoms to help you achieve better sleep.
Learn More about Sleep
Knowledge is power. Check out our other blog posts to enrich your understanding of sleep topics:
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