Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can cause sleep disturbances. However, a person living with PsA may take steps to help improve their sleep quality.
Managing symptoms of PsA may help to improve a person’s ability to fall asleep or stay asleep longer. Taking steps to relax before bed and improve sleeping habits can also help.
This article reviews some possible tips and suggestions for sleeping better with PsA.
It also discusses why the condition can affect sleep, when to contact a doctor, and more.
A person’s doctor can help them to come up with a suitable treatment plan for managing symptoms of PsA. They can also monitor treatments and make changes to medications if symptoms worsen or do not improve.
The doctor may also help identify other conditions that can lead to sleepless nights, such as anxiety, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome.
Relaxing before bed may help a person improve the quality of their sleep.
A person may find that certain techniques can help to relieve stress and relax the mind before bed. These include:
Practicing these techniques may help a person to fall asleep more easily.
Providing hot or cold therapies to the affected joints may help to relax them and provide some symptom relief. This can help a person fall asleep faster.
A person can try taking a warm bath or applying a heating pad or cold compress to the affected joints. Whether a person prefers hot or cold therapy will depend on the individual’s symptoms and which provides them with the most relief.
Using electronics before bedtime can contribute to poor sleep quality. In a
A person should consider not using a phone, tablet, computer, or TV close to bedtime in order to help improve their ability to sleep.
Loose-fitting clothes can help prevent irritating the skin or joints. Sleeping in pajamas or other articles of clothing with a relaxed fit may help a person fall asleep due to less irritation.
This may be particularly useful if a person with PsA experiences a psoriasis flare. Loose-fitting clothing can also help a person to feel cool, which may also make sleeping easier.
Exercise plays an important role in overall health, including sleep quality and PsA.
In fact, as little as
Exercise also helps to keep the joints stronger and functioning properly. This may help improve a person’s PsA symptoms of joint pain and stiffness, which can help them fall asleep at night.
While there is no specific diet for treating PsA, a healthful, balanced diet may help to prevent excessive inflammation relating to PsA. A person may benefit from eating foods such as:
- fruits and vegetables
- lean proteins
- whole grains
- foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as:
- oily fish, including salmon and sardines
- flaxseed oil and canola oil
It is best to avoid excessive sugars and processed foods.
Following a healthful diet can also have added benefits of weight control and helping to prevent other health conditions from developing. This in turn may help to manage symptoms and improve a person’s quality of sleep.
Improving sleep hygiene or sleeping habits may help a person fall asleep or stay asleep longer. Some tips to help with improving sleep hygiene
- avoiding large meals before bedtime
- avoiding caffeinated beverages in the evening
- going to bed at the same time each night and setting an alarm to get up around the same time each day
- taking steps to make the room dark, cool, and comfortable
PsA can have a negative association with sleep quality and duration. A 2023 study found that 30–85% of people living with PsA report sleep issues.
It noted that certain factors increase a person’s risk of sleep disturbances, including:
- severe pain or swelling of joints
- high levels of inflammation in the body
- limited physical function
A person’s doctor can help them determine the cause of poor sleep alongside PsA and advise on ways to improve sleep quality.
A person should consider discussing sleep issues with a doctor as soon as they have concerns about their sleep quality. The doctor may be able to recommend additional testing to check for sleep conditions or other comorbid conditions.
A person may also want to discuss changes to treatment if they notice their symptoms from PsA start to increase or worsen. This can indicate that a person needs changes to their treatment.
There are several treatment options that may help a person better control their symptoms, and a doctor can help them to create a suitable treatment plan on the basis of their experience with the condition.
The following sections provide answers to frequently asked questions about sleep issues, PsA, and psoriasis.
Why is psoriatic arthritis worse at night?
The exact reason PsA worsens at night is not clear. Some evidence suggests that the body releases less cortisol, an anti-inflammatory, at night.
What is the best sleeping position for psoriasis?
No one sleep position works well for everyone living with PsA or psoriasis. A person may benefit from avoiding sleeping on the side of the body that psoriasis and PsA most affect. A person should choose a position that works best for them.
Sleeping with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can be challenging. Symptom severity, comorbid conditions, and poor sleep hygiene can all play a role in lack of sleep.
A person may take several steps to help manage their sleep. These can include treating their underlying conditions, including PsA itself, as well as comorbid conditions. A person can also take steps to relax before bed, turn off electronics, eat well, and exercise regularly.