How are sleep and psoriatic arthritis connected?
If you're living with psoriatic arthritis, the comfort of a good night's sleep may feel out of reach. Psoriatic arthritis is associated with a number of sleep problems, including trouble falling and staying asleep, poor-quality sleep and feeling sleepy during the day.
The more severe your psoriatic arthritis symptoms, the worse your sleep may be, although even those with minimal psoriatic arthritis symptoms may have difficulty sleeping.
Difficulty sleeping can cause many kinds of misery. When you're tired, it's harder to pay attention, remember things and manage your emotions. Sleep problems may also increase pain and anxiety in psoriatic arthritis. Don't overlook or accept any problems you may have falling or staying asleep.
Talk with your doctor about sleep problems. He or she can recommend lifestyle changes and treatments, such as the following, which may improve both your sleep and your psoriatic arthritis symptoms.
Adjust your sleep environment
Small, easy-to-make changes in your room and your bedtime routine can go a long way toward a better night's sleep.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking at the same time every day — even on weekends.
- Avoid screen time at least 30 minutes before bed. The light from your electronic devices can confuse your body about when it's time to go to sleep.
- Keep your bedroom quiet and cool. If you share a bed with a partner who snores, consider earplugs, a white noise machine or separate bedrooms.
- Create a calming bedtime routine to help your body unwind at night. Reading, taking a warm bath or meditating before bed are helpful routines for many people.
Consider medical treatments for insomnia
Your doctor may suggest interventions such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a structured program that can help change your response to challenging situations and improve sleep.
- Prescription sleeping medications. These medications can help you fall and stay asleep. The risks and benefits of various prescription sleeping pills differ and they're not without side effects. Talk with your doctor about whether a prescription sleeping medication is appropriate for you.
Identify and treat other conditions affecting your sleep
Depression and anxiety, which often accompany psoriatic arthritis, can cause difficulty sleeping. Talk with your doctor if you feel down or anxious on a regular basis. Identifying and treating these conditions can help you sleep better and feel better, across the board.
Consider asking your doctor whether you're eligible to undergo a sleep study. These can often be done at home, and the results can help diagnose your sleep problems and point to effective treatments.
Problems with sleep often get worse over time. The sooner you take action to identify the cause of your sleep problems — and treat them — the more likely you are to feel well while coping with psoriatic arthritis.
Jan. 06, 2017
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- Connor CJ, et al. Exploring the physiological link between psoriasis and mood disorders. Dermatology Research and Practice. 2015;2015:409637.
- Ferreira BI, et al. Psoriasis and associated psychiatric disorders. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2016;9:36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928455/.
- Fatigue and psoriatic arthritis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/fatigue-and-psoriatic-arthritis. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Tips for better sleep with psoriatic disease. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/tips-for-better-sleep-with-psoriatic-disease. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Chang-Miller A (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Dec. 11, 2016.