The Complex Relationship Between Psoriasis and Sleep

By Claire Gillespie
Reviewed by Allison Truong, M.D.
March 17, 2022

Sleep is a crucial component of optimal health. It’s the time when the body regenerates tissue, renews hormones, and creates long-term memories. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep for most adults is between seven and nine hours a night. If you don’t get enough shut-eye, you’re likely to experience a significant dip in mental function and mood the following day.

While it’s common to focus on whether we’re getting the requisite hours of sleep every night, sleep continuity (i.e., uninterrupted sleep) is also important. Research has shown an association between sleep continuity and sleep quality, suggesting that interrupted or fragmented sleep can lead to insomnia and daytime sleepiness, plus all the other consequences of insufficient sleep.

When Psoriasis Keeps You Up at Night

Insufficient sleep is where psoriasis—and the itching, burning, and skin discomfort that often go along with it—can be an issue. “Patients and their spouses will often report interference with sleep, waking up scratching, or waking up with blood on their sheets from scratching,” says Tanya Nino, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County, California.

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