Psoriasis isn't just a condition that affects you during the daytime. Research has proven that it can interfere with sleep, as well. In fact, a study by the National Psoriasis Foundation reported that half of the people living with psoriasis suffer from sleep problems (1).
One of the main factors for the lack of sleep is that frequent itching and soreness of skin can cause you to wake up. For those with psoriatic arthritis, inflamed joints may result in pain during the night that makes it harder to get quality sleep. The study found as well that sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome are also more likely to occur in people living with psoriasis (2).
Lack of sleep can leave you feeling tired and stressed during the day, which can impact your mood levels. Stress can also be a trigger factor for psoriasis flare-ups, so symptoms may worsen as a direct result of poor quality sleep.
Fortunately, there are lots of measures that you can take to get a better night's sleep.
- Scratching itchy and inflamed skin at night can be a problem for those with this skin disease, so apply lots of soothing creams to keep your skin moisturised. Cover your hands with gloves, and cover severe skin patches with plastic wrap, to reduce scratching.
- Choose cotton nightwear and bed sheets. Cotton allows your skin to breathe and helps to keep it cool. It's also less likely than other fabrics to rub against your skin and cause irritation to psoriasis plaques. You can also try Dermatherapy bedding, which uses a special fabric designed to reduce friction and reduce irritation. It is the first bed linen to be classified as a Medical Device for dry skin conditions.
- Having a comfortable bed is important to help get a good night's sleep for everyone, but it is especially important if you suffer from the aches and pains associated with psoriatic arthritis. Make sure your mattress provides you with the support your body needs.
- Doing exercise during the day is thought to help improve sleep levels, so try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Even stretching your body can help - the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends you stretch for 15 minutes daily if you have psoriasis. As well as helping you to sleep, exercise can improve mood levels and self-confidence.
- Caffeine and alcohol before bedtime can disturb sleep, so avoid these stimulants in the evening. Alcohol can actually worsen psoriasis symptoms, so this is another good reason to give it a miss.
- Wong et al. Increased Prevalence of Sleep Disorders and Medical Comorbidities in Psoriatic Arthritis Patients Compared with Patients with and without Psoriasis http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/247553031117a00305