Why Hitting The Snooze Button Feels Good When You Have Psoriasis
We know hitting the ‘snooze’ button feels good, but when you are living with psoriasis, it feels necessary. Read one writer’s struggle (and triumph) for better sleep.
Brittany, a born-and-raised New Yorker, was diagnosed with psoriasis just a few years ago. Upon her diagnosis, she jumped right into psoriasis advocacy work and started her own blog, committing herself to help others living with psoriasis.
If you’re living with psoriasis, you probably know how painful it can be: both physically and emotionally. When my flare-ups are in full effect, I can really feel the toll that the disease takes on my body. Sitting becomes a tough task. Walking becomes a really tough project. Taking a nice, hot shower becomes a truly painful experience. But one of our most basic human needs - sleep - can be almost impossible.
When I first started seeing spots a few years ago (followed by my psoriasis diagnosis) my evenings became consumed with itching, scratching, tossing and turning. A “good night’s sleep” just didn’t exist for me anymore. I would wake up several times during the night from discomfort and the overwhelming desire to scratch an unrelenting itch. Before I knew it, the sun was rising and my alarm was blaring. Hitting that snooze button for a few blissful minutes of rest became routine and I would hit that button over, and over, and over!
Less sleep = less patience
The sleepless nights began to creep up on me. Like anyone who hasn’t slept well for a few days or even weeks, the lack of sleep was taking a toll on all aspects of my life, professionally and personally. I was sluggish and irritable at work. I was cancelling plans with friends because I was just too tired to participate. I was tired, cranky and just wasn’t myself. My patience and overall quality of life was suffering - and it was noticeable.
I had enough. I wanted my nights back. I wanted my LIFE back. Initially, taking control of my sleepless nights was a bit of trial and error. I tried over the counter sleep aids but still found myself awake and itching in the middle of the night. I tried moisturizing my skin right before I hit the pillow in hopes that it would alleviate some of the irritation. It helped a little, but I was still restless.
The turning point
After one-too-many bad nights, I decided to start a sleep journal, and I highly recommend it. I began to keep track of every night and everything I did (or didn’t do) to assist my psoriasis-inflicted sleep situation.
What did I discover? It turned out to be more of a combination of things that helped rather than a quick-fix. So, I began a routine: I moisturized before bed, and put gloves/socks on at times to keep the moisture in. I put on cotton pajamas because they were soft on my skin and eased some of the irritation that other fabrics can cause. I turned off all my electronics (yes, my phone, too) and grabbed a good book beforehand to help ease my mind into a sleepy mindset. I also did guided meditation and fell in love with it. It felt good to be guided to sleep by a soothing voice.
I understand what a lot of you are thinking after you’re reading this if you’re living with psoriasis. "I’ve tried that Brittany, and it doesn’t work." And you’re right, a lot of these options may not work for you - I’m not a doctor and don’t know the best plan for each individual. However, take my advice: if you can’t change the condition of your skin, the very least you can do is change your attitude and take some action towards getting better skin.
So, this month, as World Psoriasis Day passes us, take action and talk with your doctor about what the next step is for you. Acknowledge and take charge of your body AND your psoriasis. Your pillow will thank you.