We’re going to need a little more detail to provide any meaningful advice.
What does this mean? Do you mean that the same weight this week feels harder than it did last week? Or do you mean that as your training ramps up to include more near-maximal attempts, they’re getting harder? I find that there’s somewhat of an “exponential” increase in how hard my DL’s feel as I approach my max…60 percent feels like there’s no weight on the bar, 70 percent still feels pretty easy, 80 percent gets to “Pay attention” time, and 90 percent or more feels like it’s always going to be a grind. So we need a little more detail beyond “deadlifts are getting harder” - what have your workouts been for the last four or five weeks?
Likewise, there is no way for us to know this. Are you trying to hit a record in your age group, or a qualifying total of some kind (states, nationals, etc)? If not, then I don’t see any point in cutting to make a specific weight class - I think most people should just lift at whatever weight they feel good walking around at, and save the weight-cutting for when they’re good enough that it will matter (remember, powerlifting is a very fringe sport, so unless you’re hitting a qualifying total or setting a record, the weight class you’re lifting in is almost 100% irrelevant). If you are still thinking about cutting weight, the only way any of us can help decide if you “should” cut from 242 to 220 is to have some understanding of what you weigh “walking around” right now, how much of that is spare poundage (fat) that you could trim easily, etc. If you’re a bloated or soft 242 that could shed the first 10 pounds from cutting out soda for a month, then yeah, maybe going to 220 is a good move.