Some people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) experience problems with sleeping. This may be directly due to the symptoms of PsA. PsA may also increase the risk of sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea and chronic insomnia.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic condition that affects the joints. It can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body. It most often develops in people with psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that affects the skin.

Pain and itchiness due to PsA may make it difficult for somebody to get a good night’s sleep. However, they may also experience sleeping difficulties if they have an underlying sleep disorder.

A person’s doctor can help them determine if this is the case and advise on steps to improve their sleep quality.

Keep reading for more information on how sleep disorders may affect people with PsA.

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Many people with PsA have trouble sleeping. A 2020 study found that 38% of people with PsA reported sleep disturbances. In a small 2018 study, about 67.7% of people with PsA had poor quality sleep.

A 2023 review also noted that anywhere from 30–85% of people with PsA experienced problems with sleep.

Joint pain and itchiness due to PsA may contribute to sleep problems. Taking steps to manage symptoms of PsA may help improve a person’s sleep quality.

Learn about how PsA affects the body.

According to a 2016 Danish study, people with PsA have a higher-than-average risk of experiencing sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing temporarily several times while asleep. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • chronic, loud snoring
  • gasping for air when sleeping
  • breathing that stops and starts when sleeping

Other potential symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • trouble concentrating
  • morning headaches
  • a sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
  • frequently going to the bathroom in the middle of the night

More research is necessary to understand the link between PsA and sleep apnea.

Restless legs syndrome causes an uncomfortable sensation in a person’s legs and an urge to move them. It most often affects a person at night, but they may notice symptoms any time they rest.

In a 2019 study in Turkey, researchers found that 64% of people with PsA experienced restless legs syndrome. They also found that these individuals were more likely to have this sleep disorder than people with psoriasis alone.

The Arthritis Foundation suggests that iron supplements may help with this if a person’s iron levels are low.

Learn about remedies for restless legs syndrome.

According to a 2015 review, there is no clear evidence that people with psoriasis are more likely than other people to have insomnia. The authors also found no clear link between PsA and the risk of insomnia.

However, the authors did find evidence that getting treatment for psoriasis or PsA may help people who also have insomnia sleep better.

A small 2022 study found that 43.33% of people with PsA had symptoms of insomnia. The study noted that this was more common among those with higher baseline disease activity.

More research into the relationship between insomnia and PsA is necessary.

Learn about medications for chronic insomnia.

If a person has PsA, treating the condition may help relieve uncomfortable symptoms that could keep them up at night.

If they also have a sleep disorder, receiving treatment for that condition can also help.

A person may also benefit from changing their lifestyle and sleep habits.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends:

  • going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
  • keeping a sleep diary, including information about any naps and how tired the person feels
  • getting enough regular physical activity or exercise
  • avoiding caffeine or other stimulants close to bedtime
  • avoiding using electronic devices before bed
  • sleeping in a room that is cool, dark, quiet, and free of distractions
  • using the bed only for sleeping, and avoiding reading or watching TV in bed
  • taking steps to manage or reduce stress

If a person is still having trouble sleeping, their doctor may refer them to a sleep study. The results may help the doctor diagnose and treat the cause of the person’s sleep difficulties.

Learn more about ways to improve sleep.

Learn more about PsA in our PsA overview article. Here are some frequently asked questions about the condition.

What is the first red flag of psoriatic arthritis?

A person with PsA may notice swelling, pain, and stiffness in one or more joints. PsA can also cause swelling in the toes and fingers, nail changes, and tiredness.

Learn more about the early signs of PsA.

What is the life expectancy of a person with psoriatic arthritis?

PsA does not typically affect a person’s life expectancy. However, as it progresses, it can impact their quality of life.

Learn about how PsA can affect quality of life.

What should a person not do with psoriatic arthritis?

It is best for a person to avoid smoking if they have PsA, as it can worsen symptoms. A person may also need to avoid high impact exercise. Instead, they may benefit from low impact exercises such as walking and swimming.

People with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may have trouble sleeping as a result of the symptoms they experience.

In some cases, they may also have a sleep disorder that keeps them from getting the rest they need. These can include restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, and insomnia.

Treating underlying conditions and practicing good sleep habits may help a person get more rest.