Psoriasis symptoms can cause sleep disturbances and difficulty getting to sleep. People with psoriasis may also experience sleep-related comorbidities, such as insomnia.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition which affects the multiplication of skin cells. This results in thick, scaly plaques of skin. The itching and pain associated with this skin inflammation can make it difficult for people to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Sleep disturbance is, therefore, a common problem for people with psoriasis. It is also a vicious cycle because poor sleep can make psoriasis worse.

This article explains the link between psoriasis and sleep problems, offers tips for sleeping better with psoriasis, and advises when people should speak with a doctor.

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Psoriasis is a chronic condition that occurs when a person’s immune system overreacts, speeding up the multiplication of skin cells. This causes the skin to develop dry, thick plaques, often with scales that can itch, burn, or bleed.

According to a 2022 review of literature, people with psoriasis have a higher risk of the following sleep disorders:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get at least 7 hours of sleep each night for optimal health.

However, a 2019 study suggests that 58.4% of people with psoriasis have trouble sleeping, while 38.8% get less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

What causes sleep disorders?

The 2022 review associates the following factors with sleep disorders in people with psoriasis:

A 2021 article suggests sleep dysfunction may trigger or worsen psoriasis, highlighting that night shift workers are more likely to have psoriasis, as well as more severe and frequent flares.

The relationship between psoriasis and sleep may form a vicious cycle, where psoriasis symptoms can lead to sleep disorders, which, in turn, worsen psoriasis, and so on.

Read more on how to manage worsening psoriasis.

People can change their daily routine to help them sleep better if they have psoriasis. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the following changes:

  • Limit alcohol: Stopping or reducing alcohol intake, especially before bed, may improve sleep since any amount of alcohol can disrupt sleep and lower sleep quality.
  • Unwind before bed: People might do this by listening to relaxing music or meditating.
  • Set a routine: Getting up at the same time each day and having a regular sleep-wake cycle may improve sleep quality.
  • Improve sleeping environments: Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as sleeping in a dark, cool, quiet room, may help to improve sleep quality.
  • Limit caffeine: High levels of caffeine consumption may make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

The AAD highlights that some psoriasis comorbidities, such as depression or anxiety, can affect sleep quality. Seeking treatment for any other conditions or mental health concerns can help to improve sleep for people with psoriasis.

People can also speak with their doctor or dermatologist about adjusting their treatment plan if they notice sleep problems as a side effect of medication.

If a person with psoriasis experiences sleep disturbances, they should let their doctor know.

People with psoriasis may not think about discussing sleep disturbance as part of their condition. However, difficulty sleeping can occur due to psoriasis symptoms, medication side effects, and comorbidities that require treatment.

Spotting sleep problems early and getting help to manage them can significantly improve quality of life for people with psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune condition that causes thick, scaly plaques on the skin. Symptoms such as itchiness and pain can cause difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep. Poor sleep may also worsen psoriasis.

To improve their sleep, people with psoriasis can try limiting alcohol and caffeine, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, and sleeping in a dark, cool, and quiet room.

Consulting a doctor can help people with psoriasis get the help they need to manage sleep problems, treat any comorbidities, and improve their quality of life.