Can psoriasis cause problems with sleep? What can I do about it?
Yes, people with psoriasis often report difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep at night.
If you're experiencing a flare in symptoms, such as itchiness and pain, you might have difficulty sleeping. Psoriasis symptoms tend to be worse at night.
The disease itself may also play a role in causing sleep problems. Your body uses your skin to shed heat and lower your temperature at night to make you sleepy. Psoriasis might interfere with this process. And inflammation that happens with psoriasis and related conditions can make it hard to fully relax and settle into sleep.
People with psoriasis are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.
If you're having trouble sleeping, try to:
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Wake up at the same time every morning. Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime. Don't drink caffeinated beverages in the afternoon or evening.
- Get regular exercise. Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes each day. It's most helpful if you exercise early in the day — preferably at least four hours before bedtime.
- Relax before bedtime. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and muscle relaxing exercises, can help signal to your body that it's time to rest.
- Get in bed when you're tired. Only get in bed at night when you're ready to sleep. Don't read or watch TV in bed. If you're having trouble getting to sleep, don't stay in bed worrying about it. Get up and do something relaxing until you're ready to try sleeping again.
If your sleep difficulties persist, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine what might be causing your sleep problems and recommend treatments.
June 26, 2020
- Gupta MA, et al. Psoriasis and sleep disorders: A systematic review. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2016; doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2015.09.003.
- Wong ITY, et al. Sleep disturbance in psoriatic disease: Prevalence and associated factors. Journal of Rheumatology. 2017; doi:10.3899/jrheum.161330.
- Bonnet MH, et al. Behavioral and pharmacologic therapies for chronic insomnia in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.