Eczema Itching at Night: Tips and Secrets
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a skin condition associated with itching, cracked skin, inflammation, and rashes. It is a non-contagious skin condition with an unknown aetiology (cause). Eczema symptoms get worse at night and disturb sleep.
Studies have shown that 33 to 87% of the patients suffering from eczema experience sleep disruption, dramatically affecting their quality of life. Children suffering from eczema also face difficulty sleeping at night. Sleep deprivation slows children's growth and is frustrating for the parents.
This article focuses on the causes of eczema flare at nights, preventive tricks, and management secrets to improve patients' sleep quality.
What Causes Eczema to Flare at Night?
Several genetic and environmental risk factors are thought to be associated with eczema. However, researchers are still struggling to highlight the definitive cause of this disease. Patients suffering from eczema report the worsening of symptoms at night. Following are some reasons that cause this flare;
- Our body temperature drops at night, which causes the skin to itch more at night.
- Since people are not conscious in their sleep, they scratch their skin more during their sleep and cannot consciously hold them back from scratching themselves. Continuous scratching makes the itchiness worse.
- People moisturise their body during the day, and its effects decrease at night; hence, dry skin itches more.
How to decrease eczema Itching at Night?
The best way to get rid of eczema itching at night is to avoid the triggering factors before going to bed or while you sleep. Some triggering factors are associated with your activities and the materials with which your skin contacts during sleep.
- Bath Regularly
Regularly taking a shower prevents the skin from many infections, resulting in inflammation and allergic reactions associated with itching. Taking a bath before going to bed keeps your skin hydrated and provides the necessary moisture. Medicated bath with colloidal ointments, bleach or vinegar is very effective against eczema itching.
- Thoroughly Moisturise Before Going to Sleep
Before going to bed, use oil-based moisturisers or any medicated cream that contains steroids—moisturising the body within a few minutes of taking a shower locks the skin's moisture and prevents itching.
- Avoid Harsh Fabric that Causes Irritation
Wool or polyester causes skin irritation and can trigger itching. Avoid sleeping suits or bedsheets of any such materials that are known to irritate. 100% cotton pyjamas and linens are soft and prevent eczema from itching at night.
- Take Anti-allergic Medicine
Taking antihistamines (anti-allergic medicines) block histamine, which causes an allergic reaction in the body and relieves the itching due to atopic eczema. These medicines also have sedating effects and help in sleep despite severe itching.
- Use Wet Wraps to Lock the Moisture
After moisturising the affected area, wrap it with a damp cloth throughout the night. It will keep the moisture locked and prevent the skin from getting dry during the long hours of sleep.
- Avoid Allergens
Pet dander, pollen or dirt are some of the common allergens that can make eczema symptoms worse. Avoid any of the allergens or irritants before you go to bed. Some common allergens or skin irritants are listed below;
- Dust mites
- Cosmetics, moisturisers, and soaps containing fragrance or dyes
- Cigarette smoke
- Certain metals
- Ointments containing neomycin or bacitracin
- Wipes containing isothiazolinones
- Keep Bedroom Temperature Below the Body Temperature
Skin in a hot environment tends to be itchier. Moreover, the higher temperature in the surrounding causes you to sweat, which in turn causes itching. Keeping the room temperature below the body temperature will avoid such a situation that triggers itching.
- Take Melatonin
Melatonin is a sedative and has proven anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. For children suffering from eczema, melatonin supplementation has promising results in reducing sleep onset latency.
- Regulate Sleep-Wake Cycle
Maintain a fixed timing to go to sleep. Regulating the sleep-wake cycle helps you have a deep sleep, which prevents you from waking up due to eczema itching. Develop relaxing habits such as meditation, reading books, or yoga before going to bed. These relaxing activities also help you have a deep sleep.
- Wear Gloves While Sleep
If you wear gloves before going to bed, you will have difficulty scratching in your sleep. Hence while you will not hold yourself back from itching consciously, gloves will make scratching difficult. Less scratching means less itching; therefore, you could have a peaceful sleep.
- Take Immunosuppressive Medications
If the eczema symptoms are severe and stop a patient from sleeping, doctors prescribe immunosuppressive medicine to such patients. Immunosuppressants prevent the immune system from overreacting and triggering eczema associated flare-up. One should take such medications under the strict observation of the physician.
Some skin specialists also recommend phototherapy or exposing the patient to ultraviolet (UV) radiations of different wavelengths. UV radiations are immunosuppressive action and reduce skin inflammation. Hence, phototherapy does not only relieve you from eczema related itching but also decrease rashes and skin discolouration.
Although researchers cannot pinpoint the definitive cause of eczema, avoiding the factors mentioned above will prevent eczema from itching at night and improve sleep quality. Always remember that hydrated skin is the best way to prevent eczema itching at night. You will get multipurpose moisturisers and ointments at nearby pharmacies. To buy eczema relieving ointment online, click here.