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Can psoriasis make you feel tired?

yawning woman
Many people who have psoriasis say they feel exhausted most of the time.
Everyone feels tired from time to time. If you feel exhausted most of the time, your psoriasis could be the culprit.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure why this happens. What is clear is that many people who have psoriasis say they feel exhausted. Some people say the constant fatigue, which can interfere with everyday life, is one of the most troublesome symptoms of psoriasis.

While there’s no quick fix for ending the fatigue, dermatologists say you may be able to boost your energy by making some changes.

Twelve changes that may give you more energy

Here are the changes that board-certified dermatologists recommend for people who have psoriasis and are struggling with fatigue.

  1. Talk with a board-certified dermatologist about your fatigue. While it’s possible that the psoriasis itself is making you tired, part of your fatigue could be caused by a medication you’re taking. Some medications that treat psoriasis (and other conditions) can cause fatigue.
  2. It’s also possible that you have an undiagnosed medical condition that could be contributing to your fatigue.

    If medication or another medical condition may be contributing to your fatigue, your dermatologist may be able to:

    • Adjust (or change) your psoriasis medication. If you’re taking a medication for psoriasis that can cause fatigue, adjusting the dose or changing medications may help ease your fatigue.
    • Spot symptoms of another condition. Psoriasis increases the risk of developing some other conditions, such as sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, and psoriatic arthritis. If you develop one of these, it can contribute to your fatigue. Your dermatologist can spot signs and symptoms of these conditions. With help from your primary care doctor or another specialist, treatment may help relieve the fatigue.

    Methotrexate can cause fatigue

    Methotrexate (approved to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis) can make you feel tired. Some pain medications can also cause fatigue.

    person holding pill

  3. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Some people say this approach to eating reduces their fatigue. A healthy, well-balanced diet consists of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins, such as eggs, fish, chicken, and beans. Eating this way helps keep your energy levels stable.
  4. When you eat processed foods, such as white bread, white rice, pastries, and lunch meats, your energy levels rise and fall quickly. Soon after eating these foods, you may feel tired.

  5. Lose weight if you are overweight. Studies show that those extra pounds can cause fatigue. If you are overweight, you can also develop knee pain, which can lead to fatigue.
  6. Exercise every day with gentle exercises. Low-impact exercises, such as walking and swimming, can ease your pain. Having less pain can reduce your fatigue.
  7. Treat pain that lasts for six weeks or longer. If you’re in pain for six weeks or longer, the pain can cause you to feel tired. When you’re tired, pain can feel more intense. As the pain worsens, so can the fatigue.
  8. Limit how much alcohol you drink, and skip having a drink before bed. Even in moderation, drinking can disrupt your sleep, leaving you feeling tired the next day.
  9. To wake up feeling more refreshed, stop drinking for a while.

    If you have a drink before bed to help you sleep, you’ll want to skip this, too. Many people mistakenly believe that having a drink before bed helps them to sleep better. While you may fall asleep faster, your sleep won’t be as restful.

  10. Unwind before going to bed. Healthy ways to relax before you go to bed include listening to relaxing music and meditating.
  11. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day—even on weekends. Having a regular schedule can improve the quality of sleep that you get.
  12. Sleep in a dark, cool, and quiet room. This can improve the quality of your sleep.
  13. Cut out (or reduce) caffeine. While coffee and other sources of caffeine can boost your energy, studies show that it can make it more difficult for some people to get to sleep and stay asleep.
  14. Treat depression and anxiety. When untreated, these conditions can interfere with your ability to sleep. You may find it difficult to fall asleep, or you may wake up frequently.
  15. Stop smoking. If you smoke, quitting can boost your energy.

You’ll find more dermatologists’ advice for easing the discomfort of psoriasis within the AAD’s Psoriasis Resource Center.

Getty Images

Gowda S, Goldblum OM, et al. “Factors affecting sleep quality in patients with psoriasis.” J Am Acad Dermatol2010;63:114-23.

Krajewska-Włodarczy M, Owczarczyk-Saczonek A, et al. “Fatigue – an underestimated symptom in psoriatic arthritis.” Reumatologia. 2017; 55(3):125–30.

Rosen J, Landriscina A, et al. “Psoriasis-associated fatigue: Pathogenesis, metrics, and treatment.” Cutis. 2016;97:125-32.

Skoie IM, Dalen I, et al. “Fatigue in psoriasis: A controlled study.” Br J Dermatol. 2017;177(2):505-12.