Three Reasons Psoriatic Arthritis Demands That I Nap
Last updated: June 2023
I used to think of naps as a time to energize for a late-night out or reenergize after a wild night. Who knew they would become a way of surviving life with psoriatic arthritis?
Making naps a priority
Like my need for naps, what I want and need from a nap differs greatly from one day to the next. There are naps for pain relief or recovery. Then there are those that no matter how hard I fight the urge, take over, and force my body and mind to shut down.
Here are three ways that psoriatic arthritis forces me into making naps a priority.
The first reason is pretty simple. Living with chronic pain is exhausting. There is no other way to explain the toll it takes on our bodies. When you think about how our bodies are constantly at war with this disease, it is actually mind-blowing that we are able to enjoy a good day now and then.
It is fairly obvious that when my body is too tired to function, communication between my brain and body begins to fail. I drop things, trip over nothing, and struggle to walk a straight line. Simple words fail to come to mind and I am known for saying the opposite of what I intended to say.
If noticed early on, a simple hour or two nap is all I need. When ignored and pushed too far, a day or two of resting and napping may be required.
Inability to process pain
When I am experiencing a severe flare or am nursing an injury in addition to PsA, my physical pain may reach levels that my body is not able to process yet. This leads to a forced day of rest and naps to prevent me from increasing the pain.
To be clear, there is no choice in the matter, my body will make it extremely difficult to move. This forces me to stay put. How long my body needs to rest depends on the level of pain and source of pain.
The final form of forced nap and rest time is one I find the most fascinating. It strikes when my body needs time to heal. While an injury like a broken rib or torn rotator cuff is usually included, a forced healing time of sleep may also occur with a severe flare.
This form takes several days and sometimes a full week to complete. I will have little to no recollection of what went on during that time. I may return a text and have no memory of doing so. There is no fighting this “nap”. In fact, there is no energy to even attempt pushing through this type of fatigue.
What I find the most interesting about it is that unlike the others, I know when this one is ending. I can literally feel the fog lift from my brain and the energy return to my body.
I miss the days of recreational napping and feeling refreshed afterward. Although I am not thrilled with my chronic illness calling the shots, I am thankful that it does before more problems occur.
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