Sleeping Well With Psoriatic Arthritis

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, including joint pain and skin itchiness, might make it hard to fall asleep or can wake you during the night. And lack of sleep often exacerbates symptoms, according to a survey published in the Psoriasis Forum. Callis Duffin, the lead researcher on the survey, explained it this way: “It can get into a vicious cycle. The hurting and itching leads to poor sleep, which leads to fatigue, which leads to more pain and itching, which leads to even worse sleep."

Man setting a smartphone alarm before bed.

Keep a regular sleep schedule

Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, suggests the Arthritis Foundation, even on weekends and holidays. While it is tempting to sleep in on the weekends to make up for lost sleep, this often backfires and makes it more difficult to sleep the following night. A consistent routine improves the quality of your sleep.

Woman wired for sleep study.

Consider participating in a sleep study

A sleep clinic can work to determine reasons why you can’t sleep. For example, is your sleeplessness due to pain? Or could it be sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep? The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests a sleep study can provide you with reasons and treatments for all of your sleep issues.

Caffeine free beverage in can.

Cut back on caffeine

If you are having a hard time sleeping, you might depend on caffeine to get you going in the morning. But when you consume caffeine well into the afternoon or evening, you might be contributing to your sleep difficulties. It can take six hours for one-half of the caffeine from a cup of coffee to leave your system, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Avoid caffeine consumption for at least six hours before bedtime.

Sleeping woman.

Use your bed for sleeping

Avoid other activities in bed, such as reading or watching television, suggests the National Psoriasis Foundation. If you want to read, do so in another room. Your bed should only be a place for sleep, or intimacy with your partner.

Tying on running shoes early in morning.

Pay attention to when you exercise

Exercise is important for people with psoriatic arthritis, but exercise can affect your sleep. Exercising intensely can stimulate your nervous system and keep you awake, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Keep these types of exercise to mornings or early afternoons. Lifting weights, however, does not impact sleep and strength training at any time of day can improve sleep.

Woman relaxing in bathtub reading a book.

Create a wind-down routine

Use the evening hours to de-stress and care for your body. For example, you might listen to music or take a cool bath to relieve itchiness. Find what works for you to relieve symptoms so you can enjoy better sleep.

Black bedding and bedroom.

Make your bedroom conducive to sleep

Keep your room dark and cool. The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. Turn off your phone and other electronic devices. Make sure you have comfortable pillows and mattress.

Sleep journal, pen, alarm clock on bed.

Keep a log of your sleep patterns

Keep track of what time you go to bed and what time you get up each morning. Write down whether you took a nap during the day, how much caffeine you consumed, whether you exercised and what time you exercised. Include other information you feel may have impacted your sleep, such as stress. The National Arthritis Foundation suggests that you share this information with your doctor so you can work together to find solutions.

Talking to doctor.

Talk to your doctor

Your doctor may have suggestions to help you sleep, and can help determine the reasons for your insomnia. For example, you might need to be screened for depression, sleep apnea, or heart conditions, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.