How To Stop Psoriasis Itching At Night
There are a number of ways to stop psoriasis itching at night but before we delve into the subject in detail, I want to share some personal experiences of the countless times I wished I could find some relief from the addictive itch.
As you will know, when you start to itch your psoriasis in bed at nighttime, it basically is impossible to stop. The amount of times I have ruined a bedsheet with blood stains from excessive scratching is just too many to remember. And also let’s not forget, the more you scratch the longer the psoriasis healing time.
Let’s be honest, I know scratching psoriasis feels good but my biggest tip is to teach yourself not to start. Please also note that when you start to take care of your diet and use the right topical ointments, your propensity to itch decreases considerably.
So for psoriasis itching relief, please read the following advice which will help you set up your sleep environment to lessen the incentive to scratch!
Itching And Psoriasis
Although the word psoriasis is derived from the Greek word “psora” which means “to itch,” for the longest time, doctors did not consider itching as one of the main symptoms for the condition. Today, medical practitioners are increasingly recognizing itching as one of the significant symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriasis itching can occur at any time of day or night. For some people, however, the itching tends to exacerbate around nightfall, thereby affecting your regular sleep pattern. Fortunately, there are various ways you can use to treat the psoriasis itch:
Stress and itchiness
Stress is known to trigger the symptoms of psoriasis and may make the itch even worse. It is, for this reason, that managing it is an important life skill, especially for people living with psoriasis. Some of the best ways of reducing stress include:
Meditation specialists describe this technique as paying attention in a specific way on purpose in real-time. Meditation helps to clear your mind, slow down your racing thoughts and heart to relieve anxiety.
Exercise triggers the release of endorphins (body chemicals that help to improve your mood and vigor). It has also been proven to decrease anxiety and improve sleep.
Talk To A Therapist
You can find a therapist to help you cope with stress. Taking a course in stress management can also help you learn about the various ways of managing stress.
Keep Skin Moisturized
When trying to keep your skin moisturized, think thick and greasy. Thick and oily moisturizers, preferably with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil stick to your skin longer and more efficiently than lotions. Apply the moisturizer a few minutes after taking a bath. This way, it will be able to trap in some of the moisture before it evaporates.
Remove Scales and Flakes Using Scale Softeners
Remove the excess scales on your skin by applying a keratolytic (skin softening) product. This will help to relieve the itching as well as allow the relieving ointments and lotions to be more efficient.
Lukewarm soaks in the bath (followed by moisturizer)
While you might prefer long soaks in hot water when taking a shower, it is a complete no if you are looking to stop or prevent itching. Bathing with hot water removes some of the natural moisturizers in the top layer of your skin, exposing it to dryness, which might affect your psoriasis. Hence, make sure to take short baths in lukewarm.
Over the Counter Treatments
Numerous ingredients have been proven by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to relieve the psoriasis itch. Some of these ingredients include camphor, benzocaine, menthol, calamine, diphenhydramine irritation, and hydrocortisone. Note that some of these ingredients may cause irritation and dryness.
Tips for Overcoming Sleepless Nights with Psoriasis
Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep
If you are having trouble sleeping due to psoriasis itching, the first thing you need to do is to make your room conducive to sleep. Your room should stay cool, but not cold to help soothe your psoriasis. To help you sleep better, make sure you turn off all the light sources, including your computer monitor. If you are sensitive to light or sound, consider wearing an eye mask and earplugs.
Choose a mattress that conforms to your body perfectly and provides adequate support. If you have psoriatic arthritis, a waterbed is highly recommended as it allows for more comfortable movement and helps keep your aching joints loose.
Stick to a sleep schedule
One of the best ways of ensuring you sleep better at night is by setting your body clock. The best way to set your body’s clock is by sticking to a sleep schedule. Make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every night and morning, including holidays and weekends. If you are taking any medication for the psoriasis symptoms, make sure to consult your health professional on the best time to take them since you do not want them to interfere with your sleep. Also, make sure to talk to your doctor about the medication that might help relieve itching.
Get some daily exercise
Studies show that one of the best ways of fighting insomnia is through exercise, especially outdoors exercise. Before beginning any new exercise regimen, make sure to talk to your doctor first. Once they give you a go ahead, work your way towards a 30-minute exercise each day, five times a week. Aerobic activities such as walking, biking or swimming are highly recommended. The National Psoriasis Foundation also suggests that psoriasis patients include at least 15 minutes of stretching. Just do not exercise too close to your bedtime as it could affect the quality of your sleep.
Relax before bedtime
For you to enjoy restorative sleep, you need to be in the proper mindset. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and visualization can help do the trick, making you feel sleepy as well as helping you relieve the stress of coping with the symptoms of psoriasis. Other options for relaxing your mind before bedtime include;
- Sipping on a cup of warm milk or herbal tea
- Reading a good book
- Listening to soothing music
However, if drinking a warm beverage at night helps you relax, avoid indulging too close to your bedtime as your sleep may be interrupted not by the symptoms of psoriasis, but by the multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Also, avoid drinking stimulants like caffeine late in the evening.
Wear cotton pajamas
Always go for soft cotton pajamas to sleep in. This is because cotton will not rub against your skin and irritate the plaques. Cotton is also quite breathable and can help you stay cool throughout the night, which is essential when you are trying to sleep. Wearing pajamas made of other material may cause your skin to itch severely, waking you up in the middle of the night. You might have trouble falling back to sleep.
Descale and apply moisturizer before bed
Using a thick and greasy moisturizer before bed can help ease the itching. If you are looking to moisturize psoriasis plaques on your hands or feet, slip on cotton socks and gloves before going to bed to keep the emollients from rubbing off onto your linens.
Do not eat before bedtime
Avoid eating big or heavy meals before your bedtime. It is much harder to sleep on a full stomach or after consuming too much sugar.
Cut out cigarettes and alcohol
While there are a lot of reasons, you should cut out cigarettes and alcohol, other than the heart disease and cancer risks, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can worsen psoriasis. It can also make it harder for you to sleep, especially if you experience nicotine withdrawal.
Try not to nap after 5 pm
If psoriasis itching prevents you from getting sufficient sleep at night, try to take a short nap can help you get through the day. As little as 20 to 30 minutes of sleep can help you wake up feeling refreshed. If you need to take a nap during the day, make sure you do it before the clock strikes 5 pm. Remember to keep it short.
Use a humidifier in low humidity environments
Low humidity environs tend to dry out your skin, making psoriasis worse. One of the best ways to fix a dry room is by installing a humidifier. Keep the humidifier in your bedroom, especially during winter when the air tends to get drier.