As you might know, sleeping with psoriasis can be a challenge. You just can’t get comfy and your body might itch in various places. Your sheets might be too rough or something else might be affecting your sleep.
There is a lot to be said for sleeping well. Having the right amount of rest ensures that you’re on top of your game, whatever your game may be. Plus, sleep is when your body recovers from injuries, including the tiny tears and fissures your muscle experience after a workout. But when sleep doesn’t come, you — and everyone around you — suffer.
Sleep deprivation can trigger moodiness, decreased performance, and poor decision-making. Unfortunately for insomniacs, taking sleeping medications can make these problems even worse. Keep reading for a few tried-and-true ways to get the sleep you need, no pharmaceuticals required.
First, the obvious
Lifestyle is usually the main reason sleep hides just out of reach. Drinking coffee in the afternoon is a perfect example of a habit that doesn’t help. MindBodyGreen explains that caffeine, from all sources, is a natural stimulant. It also blocks the production of melatonin, which is a brain secretion that helps you fall — and stay — asleep. If you tend to drink coffee later in the day, try dropping your PM pick-me-up. If you’re thinking you absolutely have to have that last cup o’ Joe to finish your day, think again. Sleep is a much better way to keep your mind sharp, no matter how many hours you put into your workday. The Mayo Clinic also suggests avoiding alcohol and nicotine in the hours before bed.
Stress is another contributor to wide-open eyes. Often, the only time you have to fixate on your issues is when you’re snuggled into bed, but this is the worst possible time to try to wrap your head around anything unpleasant. This WZZM13 interview of Michigan-based Body By Choice founder Nick Klein discusses ways to mitigate stress so that you can sleep.
It takes work
While sleep is supposed to come naturally, the actions you take during the day determine how your body responds come nightfall. You might be surprised to hear that your physical activities — running, jogging, strengthening exercises — can improve your ability to sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends exercising as a way to combat insomnia. The organization even goes as far as to assert that regular exercise is beneficial for people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, which can leave you feeling fatigued. If you already exercise regularly, consider changing your schedule and finding a routine that works for you. As an added benefit, not only will exercise improve sleep quality, but better sleep is also a sign that your workout is working.
A change on the horizon
Environmental factors can have a positive or negative influence on the ability to sleep. Background noise and excess light, which may be reduced with white noise and room-darkening curtains respectively, are issues for many individuals living in urban or suburban areas. If you’re married and find yourself up at all hours due to a snoring or a restless spouse, it may be time to separate your bed. But don’t worry — moving out of the bedroom is not a sign there’s trouble within your relationship. It can actually reduce spousal tension and enhance sleep quality for both you and your partner. Dry and polluted air can also negatively affect your sleep routine, so invest in a good humidifier. Find the right one for your needs by reading online guides and reviews. Changing your bedroom environment, either by adding accessories to help you get to sleep or moving rooms altogether, may be an adjustment, but it’s one that’s worth considering.
Getting a good night of sleep takes a conscious effort. While things like dropping lavender on your pillow and turning the temperature down can help calm the body at night, it’s what you do during the day that really matters. Sleep is too important to leave to chance, so make a point to reduce stress, get plenty of exercise, and do whatever it takes to oust insomnia.