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.

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One way a person can help improve sleep quality and duration involves treating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. This can involve following a treatment plan and taking medications.

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.

Learn about medications for PsA.

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.

Learn more about relaxation techniques.

Using electronics before bedtime can contribute to poor sleep quality. In a 2021 study, researchers found sufficient evidence to suggest that using an electronic device for 30 minutes or more before going to bed or falling asleep reduces sleep quality.

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 10 minutes of walking every day may help improve sleep, although longer and more intense sessions tend to work best.

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.

Learn about exercise and sleep.

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:

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.

Learn more about PsA and diet.

Improving sleep hygiene or sleeping habits may help a person fall asleep or stay asleep longer. Some tips to help with improving sleep hygiene include:

  • 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

Learn more about sleep hygiene.

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:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • severe pain or swelling of joints
  • high levels of inflammation in the body
  • fatigue
  • limited physical function

A 2016 study reported that 36–82% of people living with PsA also develop or have obstructive sleep apnea. Other possible reasons for disrupted sleep include restless leg syndrome and insomnia.

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.