November 03, 2021 4 min read

Sleep is essential for our health and longevity. It helps our body to recover from the day and ensures our body systems are in working order. Getting adequate sleep (between 7 and 8.5 hours) without sleep disturbances is linked to better health and a longer life free of chronic disease [1].

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are more vulnerable to experiencing poor sleep quality and sleep disorders [2]. Possible explanations for this phenomenon include associations between poor sleep and inflammation, chronic pain, skin itchiness, the higher prevalence of mental illness and reactions to certain medications used to treat the conditions [3]. Long-term sleeplessness significantly lowers quality of life and needs to be taken seriously.

Busy and stressful lives make getting enough shut-eye challenging as it is. With psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis added into the mix, getting a good night’s sleep can get a whole lot more complicated.

Here are some practical tips for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis on getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Follow a night-time routine. This is more of a general tip, but you’d be surprised how effective developing a bedtime routine is. Before-bed activities help to reprogram your brain, sending signals to help your mind wind down and prepare for sleep. How you do this is totally up to you, although try and steer clear of the TV.
  • Ensure your space is conducive to sleep. Sleep hygiene is also about preparing your sleeping space. Try to avoid working in the bedroom if you can as this helps your brain delineate work from rest. Dim the lights, play some relaxing music, and light some scented candles. Make your bed, change your sheets and pillowcases regularly, and fluff up your pillows to make your bed more inviting.
  • Get the right sheets & sleepwear. You spend about 8 hours in bed a day. Tossing and turning, sweating and irritation under heavy and scratchy sheets can bring on the itch and exacerbate your skin. We recommend investing in quality sheets and sleepwear made from light, natural fabrics. Tepso is a company which specializes in clothing and fabrics for people with eczema and psoriasis. Their products are designed to reduce friction and ensure breathability for the skin - a must-have for people with sensitive skin.
  • Moisturize! This should be an essential step in your night-time routine. We recommend Abundant Natural Health’s Ocean Soothe® Lotion (link to US website need to be included) which is proven effective in reducing symptoms of mild psoriasis and problematic skin. Lock in the moisture to prevent night-time dryness.
  • Get a humidifier.Dry indoor heating or cooling can worsen symptoms such as itching and flaking. Keep the air moist and your skin hydrated!
  • Use pain relief (if you need it). Getting your pain under control is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Believe it or not, the body still registers pain even while sleeping. It is most often the pain and itchiness that makes for a restless sleep. Pain relief comes in many forms - whether it be taking medication prescribed by your doctor or using natural remedies, find a solution that is effective and lasts the night.
  • Follow your psoriasis treatment plan.Adhering to your treatment plan is the key to a successful sleep. It is important that even if your symptoms have gone away that you continue your management, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor or specialist. Discipline and knowing what triggers your flare-ups is key! Make sure you see a doctor, dermatologist and/or rheumatologist regularly for assessment and evaluation of your treatment plan.
  • See a therapist. As mentioned above, general worry, anxiety poor mental health can often lead to bad sleep. Getting in touch with a therapist and talking about what’s on your mind can help you put aside your worries and go to bed with a clear head. They may also have some tricks to help you get to sleep!
  • If you feel your sleep is really impacting your life – see your doctor. You may have an undiagnosed sleeping problem that may be helped with medication or specialist input. Don’t put it off- you owe it to yourself.

References

  1. Stenholm, S., Head, J., Kivimäki, M., Magnusson Hanson, L. L., Pentti, J., Rod, N. H., ... & Vahtera, J. (2019). Sleep duration and sleep disturbances as predictors of healthy and chronic disease–free life expectancy between ages 50 and 75: a pooled analysis of three cohorts. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 74(2), 204-210.
  2. Krajewska-Włodarczyk, M., Owczarczyk-Saczonek, A., & Placek, W. (2018). Sleep disorders in patients with psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. Reumatologia, 56(5), 301.
  3. Mease PJ, Menter MA. Quality-of-life issues in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis: outcome measures and therapies from a dermatological perspective. J Am Acad Dermatol 2006; 54: 685-704.

Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice. The author of this blog is not a medical professional. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease of medical condition. Patients should not use the information contained in this blog to self-diagnose or self-treat any health-related condition. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read in this blog. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative, or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources; however, Abundant Natural Health is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation.