Is your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis keeping you up at night?
Kristina Callis Duffin, M.D., has done extensive research into the sleep-psoriatic disease connection, and has found that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis often have more sleep issues or have more severe sleep issues than the general population.
Itching and pain can lead to poor sleep, and poor quality sleep can lead to exhaustion and stress, which can make psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis symptoms worse, says Callis Duffin, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Utah and a member of the NPF medical board.
People with psoriasis are more likely to have severe sleep apnea, too, according to Callis Duffin. A recent Citizen Pscientist research paper also found sleep difficulties for those with psoriatic disease.
Here are some tips for getting a better night's sleep with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis:
Sign up for a sleep study
Many people who have sleep apnea don't know it, and Callis Duffin says those with psoriasis should be mindful if they experiencing certain symptoms, such as snoring, waking up with a headache or feeling tired during the day. This is particularly the case if they are also overweight or obese.
She added that those with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can also experience sleep issues like trouble getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep and restless leg syndrome.
Quality sleep is important, and not just because too little sleep can cause a worsening of itching and pain.
Treating these issues can actually help your mood and symptoms.
"They have new (sleep apnea) masks that fit very differently," she says. "Many patients find they feel better and their psoriasis improves when they get better sleep."
Develop good sleep habits
For those who don't have sleep apnea, but still find themselves waking often or missing out on valuable shut-eye, Callis Duffin says good sleep habits can help a lot – things like:
- making sure the room is dark
- waking and falling asleep at the same times each day
- eliminating noise and distractions
- keeping the room at a cool, comfortable temperature
- avoiding stimulants like caffeine close to bedtime
- only sleeping in bed, instead of reading or watching TV
People who are still waking up tired should talk with their doctor, says Callis Duffin, and be cautious about sleep aids which can leave you feeling tired the next day, have side-effects, and in some cases, even become addictive.
Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2017 and has since been updated.
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