How Can We Sleep Better When We Live With Psoriatic Arthritis?
Last updated: May 2023
A good night's sleep is a gift when you live with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). It's also a gift that few and far between. Between stiffness, intense pain, swelling and general lack of comfort - those with PsA really know the sleep struggle.
Psoriatic arthritis gets enough say over my body, and for as long as what I can, I will protect my sleep. Sleep is the one that has caused me the most strife throughout my PsA journey. If I do not sleep, I turn somewhat into a dragon, grumpy and out of sorts. Other times, I am simply sad that it is all still such a struggle.
Tips to sleep better with PsA
Sleep is vital to our function. It allows us to execute the daily things we need to do as human beings. Good sleep almost feels euphoric - it's one of those things that allows us to do what we need to do and then some. Let me offer some tips that have helped me get the occasional good night's sleep.
It's important to remember that these are some melatonin miracle-esque notions, and they won't work all the time. You know your body best. By golly, we can try, and I will never stop trying to get better sleep and help others achieve the same.
The backbone is connected to the neckbone
Where does your psoriatic pain present the most at bedtime? Tackle that pain point first. Is it your neck? Lower back? Knees? Sometimes just making small incremental changes can really make a difference.
A good quality memory foam pillow is a great place to start these changes - specifically targeted for those pain points. Even though it took me a few days to get used to sleeping on it, I now cannot imagine life without it.
Support your joints by supporting your bed
An eggshell mattress topper has single-handedly been one of the best things I did for myself, especially before I could afford a new bed. It has the shape of an egg box and is made of a light foam.
Honestly, being a plus-size woman when I first bought it, I thought to myself, seriously, how much of a difference can this make? In desperation, I bought it anyway, and from night one, I haven't looked back.
Always consider having a Plan B
Having a recliner or a second piece of furniture on standby, ready to sleep, is an amazing thing. Sometimes all you need to do is change positions and change the points of your body that are getting pressure.
I found that this was particularly helpful with inflammation of my ribs, costochondritis. It made a massive difference. when I do not have access to a recline, I prop pillows up in the corner or a couch and sleep upright supported by the pillows.
Timing the pain relievers
If I can wait it out in the day with my anti-inflammatory medication, I do that and take it as close to the evening as possible. This will mean some extra pain relief while trying to get the much-needed zzz's in.
Psoriatic arthritis does not always give you an option when it comes to this. So do it at your own discretion, personally, I try to take as few as possible, so I can choose the times that it are most beneficial for me.
What's your mattress grade?
An orthopedic mattress, for me, has been the crem de la creme of all the things I have tried. It is an investment and one that I had to save up for substantially. It was worth every penny, that is for sure. If you are looking into getting a new bed or mattress, all I can say is this. Do your research.
Make sure that you get what will work for you personally. I have an orthopedic mattress, with a cool gel topper and memory foam. It has relieved almost 60% of my nighttime pain if I had to warrant a guess, and I cannot tell you when last, I had to go sleep in the recliner.
This or That
Do you experience enthesitis alongside your PsA?
Has PsA changed how you think about sex and intimacy?
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