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 linked to a number of sleep problems, including trouble falling and staying asleep, poor-quality sleep, and feeling sleepy during the day.

The more serious your psoriatic arthritis symptoms, the worse your sleep may be. But even those with few psoriatic arthritis symptoms may have trouble 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 also may increase pain and anxiety in psoriatic arthritis. Don't overlook or accept any problems you may have falling or staying asleep.

Talk with your health care team about your sleep problems. They can recommend lifestyle changes and treatments that may improve both your sleep and your psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

Try making lifestyle changes to improve sleep

Here are some tips that may help:

  • 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. Go to bed and wake up 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. This can help your body unwind at night. Reading, taking a warm bath or meditating before bed are helpful routines for many people. Baths should be limited to 15 minutes or less and in warm, not hot, water. Long, hot baths can dry the skin and cause psoriasis to flare up.

Consider medical treatments for insomnia

Your health care provider may suggest treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, also called CBT. CBT is a structured program that can help change your response to challenging situations. This might help improve sleep.

Identify and treat other health problems affecting your sleep

Depression and anxiety, which often happen with psoriatic arthritis, can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Talk with your health care team if you feel down or anxious most days. Identifying and treating these problems can help you sleep better and feel better.

Ask your health care provider whether you're eligible for a sleep study. These can often be done at home. The results can help diagnose 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.

March 21, 2023 See more Expert Answers