If you have trouble sleeping when your psoriasis flares-up, you are not alone. People with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis often have sleep issues:1-3
- Feeling itchy and sore at night is common. It can make it hard for you to fall asleep, or mean you keep waking up.4 This can make you feel stressed, exhausted and ultimately could make your psoriasis worse.2
- If your symptoms are severe and you are in pain this can stop you from sleeping.4 Repeated nights of poor sleep can make your pain worse,3 so it is important to try and stop the cycle.
Psoriasis and sleep apnea
If you have psoriasis you are more likely to also suffer from sleep apnea.2,4,5 You may have sleep apnea if you snore, often wake up with headaches or, feeling tired and are overweight.2 It is important to get help for your sleep apnea, to help your sleep and your psoriasis.2
Psoriasis and restless leg syndrome
Psoriasis is also associated with restless leg syndrome.2,4,5 If you are suffering from disturbed sleep and fatigue you may have restless leg syndrome. If you are worried you may have restless leg syndrome, discuss this with your doctor.4
These tips can help improve your sleep:
- Try to sleep at the same time every night.6
- Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature.2 Your body cooling down is part of falling asleep. If you have psoriasis your body finds it harder to cool down which can make it harder to fall asleep.4 If this is the case, you might find it helps to have your room at a cooler temperature.
- Draw the curtains to keep the room dark.2 When it is dark, you produce more melatonin and this helps you fall asleep.7
- Keep a moisturising cream (emollient) next to your bed. So that rather than scratching when you wake up, you can apply a soothing cream. This should help soothe your itching.8
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine close to bedtime.2,6
- Avoid blue light before bedtime. This means not looking at bright screens two to three hours before bed time and using dim red lights for night lights.9
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness can help.10 You might like to try breathing exercises. Find somewhere comfy, take a deep breath in through your nose, hold your breath for a few moments and then slowly breathe out. Repeat this for a few minutes.11
If you are having trouble sleeping talk to your doctor.2 You may find a sleep improvement programme such as Sleepstation helpful.12
A meditation technique that can also help is to focus on a short word or phrase, for example ‘Sleep Calm’. Keep repeating this in time with your breathing. With practise, you’ll find it becomes easier and quicker for your mind to switch off and calm down.
Is sleep the only thing you are giving away because of psoriasis?
The Give Nothing to Psoriasis section of this website may be able to help. Click the button below, or the ‘Give Nothing to Psoriasis’ tab at the top of the screen. You will find advice and guidance on how you can take back control and hold on to the parts of your life you’re giving away. This section also features videos from other people with psoriasis and GPs, which can help you get the support you need.
Take a look around and learn how you can give nothing to psoriasis.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
UK/IE MAT-26903 Date of Prep: July 2019
- A Duvetorp et al. Archives of Dermatological Research 2019; 311: 351-60.
- www.psoriasis.org/advance/tips-for-better-sleep-with-psoriatic-disease (accessed July 2019).
- ME Husni et al. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 2017; 47: 351-60
- MA Gupta et al. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2016; 29: 63-75.
- MA Gupta et al. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 2018; 14(6): 1085.
- www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/10-tips-to-beat-insomnia/ (accessed July 2019).
- www.healthline.com/nutrition/melatonin-and-sleep#section2 (accessed July 2019).
- www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/topicals/over-the-counter (accessed July 2019).
- www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side (accessed July 2019).
- DS Black et al. JAMA Intern Med 2015; 175(4): 494-501.
- www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/ (accessed July 2019).
- www.sleepstation.org.uk/ (accessed July 2019).