Getting a good night’s sleep does wonders for your body and your mind. Most modern studies show that 7-9 hours a night will help you feel refreshed and focused in the morning. But people with psoriasis often report a higher frequency of sleep disturbances, being kept awake by persistent symptoms. So how do you fight back?
If you want to try dodging future sleep disruptions, follow your established routines, but also pay special attention to sleep hygiene. Things like keeping the room cool and dark, avoiding caffeine before bed, and falling asleep at the same time each night will help you maintain healthy sleep, which will boost your immune system. You also might want to try meditation before bed—it can help calm stress, which can stave off flare-ups.
But what if you’re already experiencing flare-ups and need to take some immediate action? There are a few things you can try. Pajamas made of 100% cotton are the best option for sleepwear, since they won’t continue to irritate inflamed areas. And, strange as it might sound, wearing cotton gloves to bed may keep you from scratching all night long. Or, if you’re opposed to gloves in bed, trimming and filing your fingernails is also a smart move.
It’s also good idea to moisturize problem areas before bedtime, but climbing under the covers right away could make for an uncomfortable experience—and it might stain your bedding. You can avoid that by wrapping the moisturized areas in plastic wrap. But don’t wrap too tightly or you’ll cut off circulation. And, it’s best to look for a wrap made of LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene), since it’s safer for your skin. Ice packs might also help relieve discomfort in a pinch.
Researchers aren’t always sure which comes first: the psoriasis or the sleep disturbances, since they often go hand in hand. But there’s a happy ending: sleep improves dramatically with some adjustments—and better sleep is always a good thing.