A common complaint amongst many psoriasis sufferers is the inability to get a good night’s sleep. Inappropriate nightwear, bed covers that are too warm and of course sore, itchy skin are all contributing factors, so this month I thought I’d look at ways to ease the problem.
Since developing psoriasis over eighteen years ago, all types of nightdresses, whether long or short, have become a thing of the past. With steroid creams or emollients now part of the bedtime routine, long pyjama bottoms have always been my night wear of choice. These help, albeit in a small way, to keep the creams and ointments in place (instead of them instantly transferring to the sheets!) and if you purchase 100% cotton fabrics, they will still be cool enough for comfort. Fleecy styles should be avoided like the plague! They’re just too hot, which in turn will exacerbate your skin … and don’t even get me started on how the lotions and potions immediately cling to the fleecy fabric, which is of no use whatsoever to your poor skin!
The home of all great nightwear is unquestionably Marks and Spencer, so this was my immediate port of call. And they didn’t disappoint! First up is the very classic style of pyjama complete with a revere collar shirt top. This is such a cute look and should you be lucky enough to be heading away on a weekend with the girls, these will ensure that you can still join the pyjama party confident that your psoriasis will be fully covered.
If like me however, you just can’t be bothered with all those buttons and the fact that it will probably need ironing (don’t ask … I blame my mother!) then this version might work better. Again it is 100% cotton which also has the added benefit of washing really well (ok, now I’m starting to sound like my mother!) which is a quality not to be sniffed at when trying to get rid of the greasy stains invariably caused by emollients.
Of course, as with most things, there are always exceptions to the rule, and when it comes to summer holidays or the very hot weather, then long pyjama bottoms will be too uncomfortable. This is the time to reach for the shorts and tee/vest set – and to hell with the bed linen! Primark is a great source of cheap and cheerful pyjama sets such as these. Many of them are 100% cotton, and for under a tenner they are worth checking out.
Comfort is the priority when choosing nightwear, so the key things to remember are;
a) try to buy 100% cotton as it will keep you cool, won’t irritate your skin and will wash well
b) the longer the leg and sleeve are on the pyjama set, the more likely it is that the emollient creams will stay on your skin
c) longer legs and sleeves will also act as a protector for your skin should you inadvertently scratch during the night.
Obviously nightwear is not the only factor to consider when trying to get a good night’s sleep. Cotton bed linen will also help, as it is unlikely to irritate your skin and unlike polyester, it will keep your body temperature regular during the night. Another trick that works is the use of lavender. Well renowned for it’s calming and restful properties, lavender is a great balm for the restless so lighting a lavender candle before bedtime, or adding a few drops of lavender oil to a bath will definitely help. One product that I love is a pillow spray which, in spite of initially rolling my eyes in doubt, actually worked a dream (ouch, pardon the pun!). If restless nights are causing you problems, then this would be money well spent. Just a few spritzes on your pillow at night and before you know it you will be happily in the land of Nod!
Finally, although it pains me to say it, exercise helps. It is a well documented fact that I loathe and despise exercise. But the advancing years have taught me that love it or loathe it, exercise unfortunately has to become part of the daily routine. If nothing else, it’s good for your general health which for psoriasis patients is so important. The additional bonus however, is that some brisk exercise in the fresh air will invariably result in an uninterrupted sleep … and that my friends, is worth every torturous step!
So there you have it! My tips and suggestions for a fully rested night. Because after a full night’s sleep, the world really is a much easier place to navigate – even with psoriasis!
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-03265. Date of preparation: May 2016