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Night-time Itching & Sleep Quality

Updated: Jan 27

The main challenge of atopic eczema is unbearable scratching which often gets worse at night. It is estimated that 60-80% of children with eczema itching have disturbed sleep pattern due to inflammation, painful scratching and damaging of skin. Frequent waking at night affects both the child and their parents. This has a major knock-on effect in terms of energy levels, mood, and behaviour. In fact, not getting enough sleep can even make eczema worse.

Eczema Itch Scratch Wet Wrap Suit SkinAkin

How does night-time itching affect sleep quality?

Researchers have found that people with eczema itching have poorer sleep quality and frequent sleep disturbances. Scratching can mean frequent waking, and difficulty staying asleep or falling into a deep sleep. This means that people with eczema may not fully benefit from the restorative, R.E.M. stage of sleep.

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that sleep disruption caused by eczema itching can have a knock-on effect into the day, causing low energy, low mood, and problems with concentration and memory. For children, this can have a major impact on their education, causing lack of focus in class, behavioural and mental health problems, and even missed days of school.

The U.S. based Sleep Foundation have found that a lack of sleep in general can even affect immunity. A lack of sleep can worsen symptoms for eczema sufferers, because it interferes with how well the skin barrier and the immune system work. When we are in a deep sleep, our body repairs, and regenerates. Disturbed sleep patterns interfere with this usual repair process. Over time, this causes increased inflammatory responses in the body, causing the skin to become itchier and more painful, prolonging the eczema flare.

Tips for getting to sleep

Quality sleep is foundation of good health in general, but particularly important for children and adults with eczema. According to the U.K.’s ‘The Sleep Charity’, the average three to six year old needs 10-12 hours quality sleep per night. Quality sleep is measured in how well someone sleeps not how long they sleep. Even though night-time itching is highly challenging, the following tips may help your child to have a more restful, quality night’s sleep:

· Put your child to bed at the same time every night.

· A walk, fresh air, or exercise during the day, can help to tire them out.

· Remove screens, laptops, phones, and TVs at least 1 hour before bed-time. Why? - Blue light from screens interrupts the sleep hormone melatonin.

· Avoid stimulants like sugar, sweets, or caffeinated drinks.

· Make sure the room is cool, quiet, and dark.

· Bedding from natural fibres like cotton is best.

· Moisturise and treat as needed before bed.

· Wear protective garments like Skinakin's Eczema Relief suit, to minimise skin damage and keep ointments and moisturisers contained near the skin.

Managing eczema itching skin at night is especially difficult with children. However, even little changes like these, can add up to a more restful sleep for children, which can hopefully reduce eczema itching and improve their wellbeing over-time.

To help ease the night-time routine shop our anti-scratch SkinAkin Eczema Clothing range: click here.

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Eczema Itching & Sleep Quality | Skinakin 2022

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