Why Does Eczema Itch More At Night? 5 Tips To Stop Your Child Scratching
When you have a child that suffers from eczema, it can be heartbreaking. Watching them experience discomfort and not knowing the answer to solve it, is very difficult for any parent to deal with.
And unfortunately, it doesn’t get any easier at night.
If you’d been hoping the eczema gods were kinder after the sun went down, frustratingly, you’re going to be disappointed.
The need to itch only seems to intensify as bed time draws closer and this can not only result in persistent lack of sleep, but also stress and anxiety just at the time of day when you want your little one to be drifting off.
And no matter how many times you (kindly) ask them to stop scratching, unfortunately that just ain't gonna cut the mustard.
As luck would have it, we’ve thrown together a quick guide with some top tips for treatment so you can go back to the cool, chilled, happy parent again, not the worried or anxious one.
In this article, you’ll find:
1) What is eczema (just quickly)
2) Symptoms to be aware of
3) Why does eczema itch more at night?
4) Top tips for treatment to ensure a good night’s sleep
So, what is eczema?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic, long-term condition that causes your skin to become itchy, dry and inflamed. It’s thought that those who suffer from eczema have a weakened skin barrier, leaving them more open to allergens and irritants entering the body.
Eczema is not contagious and doesn’t mean your skin is dirty or infected, but more sensitive and likely to over-react to certain triggers.
It often shows up in ‘flare ups’ - where symptoms get progressively worse over a short period and can seem very difficult to break free from.
With eczema it’s possible to experience the following symptoms:
- Itchy skin
- Patches of irritation or redness
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Oozing or crusting
- Areas of swelling
Why does eczema itch more at night?
Right then, there’s a few scientific suggestions on why the skin may become more itchy at night.
1) During the daytime, the body produces a natural anti-inflammatory called cortisol. At night, our production of this hormone drops, which can leave eczema sufferers without the natural ‘protection’ it affords you against itchy, heated skin.
2) Trans-epidermal water loss tends to increase at night. The result? Your skin becomes drier and more prone to irritation.
Clearly the science goes far deeper than this, but that’s enough to get you started. Other factors to be aware of that might be causing itchy skin at night are:
- Temperature increase - the skin tends to get hotter whilst you sleep which can aggravate symptoms.
- Lack of anything else to do! May seem silly, but in the day your child is probably distracted by school, or play, or anything else, and at night when the mind has calmed, it’s easy for itching to reappear.
- Unconscious scratching - this is a biggy and something that is difficult to counteract. All eczema sufferers will no doubt do this whilst they sleep (unknowingly) and we all know the story from there. The more you scratch, the more you itch. And so begins the cycle.
- Not being able to moisturise at night - we know how important it is to moisturise at all times throughout the day to ensure the skin is kept hydrated and protected. Clearly whilst you sleep, this becomes a little more difficult which may lead to irritants breaking the skin barrier.
- Your bed clothes or bed sheets! If they’re not 100% cotton it’s possible they may trigger a response with your child’s skin.
Top tips for a simple home treatment plan
1) Yan-yee skincare calming spray
Stop deciding which new product to choose off Amazon for like the 1000th time, we got you covered.
Our very own plant-based calming spray is highly-effective at stopping the need to itch and nourishing dry skin. Enriched with a blend of 3 traditional Chinese herbs trusted for 1000’s of years in Asian medicine, our unique formula has been specifically designed to combat the symptoms of allergy-prone skin.
And the best part? It’s steroid free and safe for children from 3+ years!
2) Bamboo sheets to the rescue
100% natural so won’t irritate the skin and great at keeping the body cool, bamboo sheets are a great choice especially in the midst of a flare up.
3) Moisturise right before getting into bed
Give your child’s skin the best shot at retaining as much moisture throughout the night as possible and slather on a thick layer of emollient just before bed.
4) Keep the bed sheets and room clean
Dust mites are your enemy. Trust us. So keep the bed sheets and bedroom clean at all times to ward off any unwanted allergic reactions.
5) Understand your child’s triggers
This is an important point in general but even more so before bed. You have to get a grip on your child’s triggers. Whether that’s through a dermatologist (if you can get an appointment), a patch test or techniques like an elimination diet, you must get an understanding on what sets off your child’s skin.
Once you do, avoid them like the plague - especially before bed.
We know how stressful it can be to see your child itching and not being able to help. Hopefully, the pointers above might provide some answers and help get bed time back on track :)
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The yan yee team
- How does cortisol affect your sleep. (2020). Link
- What is transepidermal water loss and why is it important? (2017). Link
- Skin Deep: A mind/body program for healthy skin. (n.d.). Link
- Atopic eczema. (2019). Link
- Barnetson RSC, et al. (2002). Childhood atopic eczema. Link
- Why does eczema itch worse at night? (2020). Link