Fitness

Why middle of the night Wordle?

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Like the rest of the English speaking world, I’ve been Wordling. And I gather, though it started in English, it’s spread to other languages. I have friends who do the French version, as well as Canuckle, the version with Canadian themed words.

Most days I do Wordle and then Wordle2. I’ve resisted the lure of non word based variants such as Worldle, Nerdle, Heardle, etc. And I don’t do the multiple versions like Dordle or Quordle.

Like many people I share my results on social media, since sharing is part of what the game is all about. The ubiquitous squares offer a glimpse into the way others play the game. That’s a big part of the appeal.

A pretend Wordle board that’s says “Build more safe bike lanes.”

In my case though it’s also alerted friends to the fact that I’m up in the middle of the night. Why? What wakes me? I mean, aside from the state of the world. Mostly though the state of world keeps me up but it doesn’t wake me up.

What wakes me a few times each night is stabbing pain in both knees. I suffer from severe osteoartitis in both knees and the worst pain I experience is in the middle of the night. And then given the state of the world, it can be hard to go back to sleep when there’s war and a global pandemic to worry about.

“Osteoarthritis pain may feel like stiffness, aching, swelling, or throbbing. These symptoms may seem more pronounced at night since osteoarthritis pains can flare during periods of rest.” That’s from What You Need to Know About Throbbing Knee Pain at Night.

I’ve read lots about why the pain is so intense at night but I don’t find the answers satisfying. People say it’s worse because there’s nothing else going on and you notice more. Also, inflammation is worse at night because there is less cortisol. “When you sleep, your body produces less cortisol. While high cortisol levels can lead to heart disease, healthier levels can help your body reduce inflammation.”

Finally, in a really annoying kicker–lack of sleep makes knee pain worse.

There a lot of stories and studies about the connection between disrupted sleep and knee osteoarthritis. See here and here and here.

Apparently it’s a vicious cycle where not getting enough sleep makes your experience of pain worse and then the pain disrupts your sleep. The lack of sleep can also disrupt your ability to get movement in your day and that too makes knee pain worse.

On the knee pain front, I try to remember to take ibuprofen before bed. I arrange pillows in just the right way to hold my knees in the right place.

But back to where this began, Wordle. For getting back to sleep once I’ve been woken up, there are limited options. I need distraction but not doom scrolling options. Enter Wordle. It’s a five minute exercise. I can focus on it. And when I’m done I post my score and go back to sleep.

If you’ve struggled with knee pain at night and you have suggestions, other than Wordle and its many variants, let me know.

There are lots of images like this out there of bright red inflamed joints.

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