Psoriasis: Can Sleep Troubles be a Red Flag?

The calling card of psoriasis is uncomfortable skin symptoms, such as red patches of dry, cracked skin. However, the more researchers look into this disease, the more they discover that psoriasis affects many different areas of the body, beyond the skin. Conversely, health conditions affecting non-skin parts of the body may also affect the risk of psoriasis.

Specifically, several preliminary studies have noted a connection between people who have sleep apnea and an increased risk of later developing psoriasis. This has the potential to affect many people, since 18 million Americans experience sleep apnea. The latest research reported on this connection, in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, noted that those with psoriasis are four times more likely to experience sleep apnea, than people without psoriasis.

The apnea-psoriasis connection is thought to trace back to inflammation as the common denominator. The current theory is that sleep apnea increases levels of certain cytokines (inflammatory proteins), which in turns ups the chances of psoriasis in those who are predisposed to this condition.

It’s good practice for health practitioners who treat psoriasis to screen patients for sleep apnea. It’s very common for a sleep partner to be the first to note sleep apnea symptoms, since it often causes chronic snoring and paused breathing followed by a gasp or choking sound. What is amazing about all of this latest research is that getting screened and treated for sleep apnea may indirectly serve as a way to manage (or even prevent) psoriatic disease. In the meantime, know that BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is here to serve patients and their doctor offices with the latest information and medications for psoriasis treatment.


Gupta MA, Gupta AK. Psoriasis is associated with a higher prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome: A possible indication of autonomic activation in psoriasis. J Clin Sleep Med 2018;14(6):

Papadavid E, Dalamaga M, Vlami K, et al. Psoriasis is associated with risk of obstructive sleep apnea independently from metabolic parameters and other comorbidities: a large hospital-based case-control study. Sleep Breath 2017;21(4):949-958.