Psoriatic arthritis and sleep

If you have psoriatic arthritis and you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you’re not alone. Although the condition doesn’t directly cause insomnia, common side effects like itchy, dry skin and joint pain can keep you awake at night.

In fact, one study determined that 84 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis have poor sleep quality.

As frustrating as it can be to toss and turn at night, this doesn’t have to be completely out of your control. Here are 10 tips that can help you get a better night’s sleep when living with psoriatic arthritis.

Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects how you breathe at night, and it disproportionately affects those with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Anywhere from 36 to nearly 82 percent of people with psoriasis may also have obstructive sleep apnea, compared to just 2 to 4 percent of the general population.

Sleep apnea may not produce any obvious symptoms, so you could have the condition without realizing it. If you experience insomnia, you may want to discuss the possibility of sleep apnea with your doctor.

To keep your dry or itchy skin in check, try wearing loose-fitting cotton or silk clothing to bed. This can prevent you from further irritating your skin if you toss and turn at night.

To make yourself even more comfortable, you may want to consider purchasing softer sheets. As a starting point, consider looking for sheets with a high thread count made from high-quality cotton.

Before bed, use temperature therapy to give your joints some relief. Different methods work better for different people, so experiment with hot and cold temperatures to see which one works better for you. You might prefer a warm shower, sitting against a hot water bottle, or using an ice pack.

Incorporate the method that you find most effective into your nightly pre-bedtime routine. With any luck, you’ll be able to keep the pain away long enough to get to sleep quickly.

One of the simplest steps you can take to keep your skin calm is to regularly moisturize. Apply lotion to your skin just before you go to sleep to prevent itchiness from keeping you awake.

When choosing a moisturizer, look for products that specifically target dry skin. You can also consider natural alternatives like shea butter or coconut oil.

In addition to moisturizing your skin with lotion, you’ll want to make sure that you’re staying hydrated by drinking enough water. Water not only helps keep you hydrated, but it also helps to lubricate and cushion your joints. This makes water a powerful ally in your battle against your psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

Don’t forget to spread out your water consumption throughout the day instead of tanking up just before bed. You don’t want to fall asleep only to find yourself waking up to use the bathroom!

Stress can make your psoriatic arthritis worse, and it can keep you up at night. Reduce your stress levels by trying out calming meditation exercises to decompress your thoughts before you go to bed.

Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated. Start out by simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Keep your body still and relaxed and try to enjoy the quiet.

While the idea of a long, hot bath may sound like the perfect way to relax before bed, hot water can actually aggravate your skin. Limit your showers to 10 minutes or less so that your skin doesn’t become too irritated.

To prevent dryness, choose warm water over hot water. When you’re finished with your shower, gently blot your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel. A warm shower can still be part of your bedtime routine, as long as you take precautions.

To avoid becoming overtired, try to go to bed earlier. If you’re consistently not getting enough sleep, fatigue can weaken your immune system. This can lead to a vicious cycle in which your symptoms become worse, making it even harder to sleep.

The cycle can be hard to break, but one way to begin is to choose an early bedtime and stick to it. Even if it takes some time to fall asleep, you’ll be able to relax and wind down at your own pace. If you go to bed at the same time every night, you can stabilize your body’s circadian rhythms and you may find it easier to drift off to sleep.

The sooner you can get off your phone before going to sleep, the better. Using electronics before bedtime can be detrimental to your quality of sleep.

Despite the fact that these drawbacks are well known, 95 percent of people say they use an electronic device in the hour before bed. Set an electronic curfew for yourself by powering down your devices at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.

If you’ve tried all of the above tips but still can’t seem to get quality sleep due to your symptoms, it may be time to re-examine your medication regimen.

Keep a log noting your sleep habits, your symptoms, and any other related observations. Then, talk to your doctor about your trouble sleeping, and ask if there are any new or alternative treatments that could offer some relief.

Living with psoriatic arthritis doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your sleep. With the right routine and healthy habits, a good night’s sleep can be well within reach. By taking steps to encourage more restful evenings, you can boost your energy throughout the day.