A routine lack of sleep “demolishes your immune system” while disrupting blood sugar levels and even increasing the likelihood of blocked and brittle coronary arteries, according to the writing and research of Matthew Walker, Ph.D., author of the New York Times bestselling book “Why We Sleep.”
OK, enough of the scary stuff. We all know we need sleep. We also know that understanding the importance of sleep does not make it any easier to find the time, environment, and circumstances that allow for quality sleep.
Several factors can impact the duration, quality, and regularity of your sleep, and people who experience psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have even more things to consider. So take a look at some of the sleep disrupters that might be getting in your way. 
Why Can’t You Sleep?
Itch impacts the quality of life for 70–90% of people living with psoriasis.  Some people describe this itch as a burning or stinging sensation, which can be frustrating and hard to ignore. Unfortunately, itch can worsen in the evening, which can further disrupt sleep. 
Pain related to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can also impact the quality of sleep.   Research suggests poor sleep can worsen pain for those living with psoriatic arthritis.  This can become a difficult cycle, as pain can lead to poor sleep, and poor sleep can make pain worse.
Depression and Anxiety
People living with psoriatic disease are more likely to have depression and anxiety.  Those living with psoriasis have a 39% increased risk of being diagnosed with depression and a 31% increased risk of being diagnosed with anxiety compared with people without the disease.  Research has found that rates of depression and anxiety may be even higher in people living with psoriatic arthritis.  In turn, depression and anxiety may affect your sleep because difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep are symptoms of these conditions. 
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
There is a connection between psoriasis and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts when the muscles in your throat relax and block your airway. Signs of sleep apnea include snoring, gasping, and “snorting” sounds, and excessive daytime sleepiness. 
People living with psoriasis have an increased risk of developing OSA, while those living with OSA are at an increased risk of developing psoriasis.  Obesity is a possible comorbidity of psoriatic disease, and those with obesity have an increased risk of OSA. 
Scientists do not yet know the exact reason for the connection, but you should talk to your health care provider if you have any signs of OSA.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a tingling or prickly feeling in your legs that sometimes makes you feel like you must move your legs. Limited research shows an increased frequency of RLS among people living with psoriasis. In one study, 17% of people living with psoriasis had RLS, while only 4% of the general population had RLS.  RLS may increase the risk of disrupted sleep. 
Have you ever heard of suggestibility? It’s the phenomenon that has you feeling like your leg is starting to twitch right now because you just read about RLS. Let’s take a deep breath together. For real. And then let’s focus not on what could happen but instead on what you can do about getting more sleep.