In an era of Red Bull, hour-long commutes, and a 24-hour news cycle, just about everyone complains of fatigue and lack of sleep. But for patients with psoriatic arthritis, fatigue is on another level entirely.
Most people can still get through their work day and even thrive despite their perpetual lack of enough sleep. But patients with psoriatic arthritis often describe the chronic fatigue as “overwhelming” and “wipeout;” many say it’s the psoriatic arthritis symptom they find the most challenging to cope with.
Low energy with psoriatic arthritis may stem from a few factors. First, the inflammation in the body itself causes fatigue. Another factor of chronic exhaustion is lack of sleep caused by joint pain and itchy skin. Finally, depression is common among patients with psoriatic arthritis, and depression often affects sleep quality.
Here’s how you can boost energy and combat fatigue with psoriatic arthritis, according to rheumatologist Leah Alon, MD, of the Harlem Health Center and Queens Health Center in New York City.
Add more downtime. You don’t need to “power through” your busy schedule, and you’re allowed—even encouraged—to rest and recover.
Chunk out your activities. “Instead of trying to clean your whole kitchen in 30 minutes, do it in sections of 10 minutes each,” says Dr. Alon.
Schedule in a stress reliever. Carrying around high stress from day to day can really wear you out. For you, a proactive stress-reliever might be exercising, but it could also be reading, gardening, or listening to a podcast—something to bring those stress levels down.
Invest in your sleep quality. This one’s a no-brainer, but getting more (and better quality) sleep will obviously play a role in your daily energy levels. (Here are 8 tips to improve sleep.)
Keep your diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Here are more tips for a healthy diet with psoriatic arthritis.
Don’t slide on your treatment plan. Stay on your meds until you’ve talked it over with your doctor, and let your doc know if you’re experiencing new side effects or problems.