Five Tips to Help You Sleep Better if You Have Psoriatic Arthritis

· March 22, 2019
Patients with psoriatic arthritis tend to have sleeping problems due to the symptoms the disease causes. The tips we'll share in this article may help improve patients' quality of life.

Psoriatic arthritis is accompanied by symptoms that reduce the sufferer’s quality of life. Therefore, patients must follow a number of strategies that will allow them to minimize their negative effects. Today, we’ll look at some tips that will help you sleep better if you have this condition.

According to a study carried out by Dr. Kristina Callis Duffin, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Utah, the itching and pain this condition causes can lead to poor quality sleep. This, in turn, increases stress and exhaustion during the day. In addition, these patients have a risk of suffering from more serious sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

A hand with psoriatic arthritis.

Before going into the details of how to sleep better if you have psoriasis and arthritis, it’s important to make a brief overview of the basics of the disease. Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that combines joint pain and swelling with psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin and scalp. It’s estimated that 30% of psoriasis cases correspond to psoriatic arthritis.

There are several subtypes:

  • Symmetric: This type of arthritis affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Its symptoms are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Asymmetric: This affects a joint or joints of one side of the body. The patient may also suffer from reddened joints.
  • Distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP): This affects the joints near the nails.
  • Spondylitis: This involves the spine and can cause painful movements.
  • Psoriatic arthritis mutilans is one of the most severe forms. It can cause hand and foot deformations.

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

The symptoms can vary from person to person. In fact, they may even manifest intermittently. They’re mild sometimes, and can worsen at others.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Joint inflammation and tenderness
  • Morning stiffness
  • Muscle pain
  • Scaly patches on the skin
  • Flaky scalp
  • Fatigue
  • Splitting of the nail from the nail bed
  • Eye redness (conjunctivitis).

You should also read: Treating Psoriasis With Sarsaparilla

Psoriatic Arthritis and Sleep

A woman with sleeping problems.

According to recent studies, psoriatic arthritis complications can affect sleep quality.

A study that was carried out in 2017 found that 84% of patients with psoriatic arthritis have poor quality sleep. Symptoms such as itching, pain, and stress can significantly impact sleep.

While it’s not a direct cause of insomnia, its side effects can affect the resting period. Patients often have trouble sleeping on a regular schedule and rest disruptions. They also have a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea.

Tips to Help You Sleep Better if You Have Psoriatic Arthritis

To sleep better if you have psoriatic arthritis, you should implement a series of strategies. In fact, your doctor may recommend many of these during a check-up.

1. Wear comfortable clothes.

Two seniors sleeping with comfortable clothes.

Cotton fibers are breathable and, thus, prevent skin discomfort.

Although it may seem irrelevant, choosing appropriate clothes can help you sleep better if you have psoriatic arthritis. To keep your skin dry and the itching under control, choose cotton or silk baggy garments. These materials prevent skin irritation while you’re resting.

2. Try heat and cold therapy.

Temperature therapy is a way to relax the joints before bed.

Cold temperature works best for some people, while hot temperature works best for others. Try both of them out and select the one that relieves you the most. If you prefer, alternate both temperatures.

Discover: 7 Smoothies to Stop Arthritis

3. Moisturize your skin.

A man applying ointment on his psoriasis.

Applying creams and oils before bed will help keep your skin hydrated and reduce discomfort.

One of the simplest steps to keep your skin symptoms under control is to moisturize your skin regularly. If your symptoms tend to worsen during the night, you should use a moisturizer before bed. Choose natural alternatives such as coconut oil or shea butter.

4. Use relaxation techniques.

Yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques are excellent alternatives that will help you sleep better if you have psoriatic arthritis.

These therapies promote joint relaxation and reduce the stress derived from the symptoms. You can practice them 30 minutes before bed.

5. Take advantage of aromatherapy.

Lavender essential oil.

Aromatherapy relaxes the body. You can reap the benefits of aromatherapy to reduce the symptoms of many diseases. Thanks to the properties of some essential oils, they’re good choices to reduce the stress and other discomforts of psoriatic arthritis. Aromatherapy may even help relieve pain.

Make sure to use essential oils such as:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Mint
  • Lemon
  • Sandalwood
  • Rosemary

Finally, don’t forget to talk to your doctor about your sleeping problems, because it’s very important for them to check if you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Gladman, D. D., Antoni, C., Mease, P., Clegg, D. O., & Nash, O. (2005). Psoriatic arthritis: Epidemiology, clinical features, course, and outcome. In Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. https://doi.org/10.1136/ard.2004.032482
  • Ritchlin, C. T., Kavanaugh, A., Gladman, D. D., Mease, P. J., Helliwell, P., Boehncke, W. H., … Taylor, W. J. (2009). Treatment recommendations for psoriatic arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. https://doi.org/10.1136/ard.2008.094946
  • Callis Duffin, K., Wong, B., Horn, E. J., & Krueger, G. G. (2009). Psoriatic arthritis is a strong predictor of sleep interference in patients with psoriasis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2008.10.059
  • Dhir, V., & Aggarwal, A. (2013). Psoriatic arthritis: A critical review. Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-012-8302-6
  • Ian Y.H. Wong, Vinod Kumar Mozhikunnam Chandran, Suzanne Li, Dafna D Gladman. (2017). Sleep Disturbance in Psoriatic Disease: Prevalence and Associated Factors. The Journal of rheumatology. DOI:10.3899/jrheum.161330