Does Eczema Itch More at Night? How to Minimize Nighttime Itching.
There are few things more irritating than a night time itch. Coughing, and the hiccups also come to mind, but there is something so persistently uncomfortable about an itch that it can be absolutely torturous when trying to fall asleep at night.
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So why does eczema start to itch more at night than during the day? Itching at night because of eczema is one of the most frustrating parts of the chronic disease. The body’s secretion of cortisol is at its lowest at night, then increases to its highest level of production in the morning. Cortisol is the precursor of cortisone which is our body’s own anti-inflammatory hormone. When our brain responds to an itch and we act on it by scratching, it can be difficult for our brain to shut off that brain trigger, even if our adrenal cortex starts to kick in again in the morning. As a result, parents often find their children still scratching in the morning after itching all night, because their brains haven’t been able to turn off the itchy trigger.
Histamine is another naturally occurring substance with its own production clock. Histamine is released at its highest in the morning and its lowest at night, much like cortisol. Histamine helps to govern our body’s cycles of waking and sleeping. Histamine can help us to neutralize allergic reactions and symptoms, but it can also keep us awake at night. However, there are steps that you can take to minimize these symptoms that will help to mask the itchy brain triggers to that you’ll be able to fall asleep.
Whether you’re suffering yourself or it’s your child suffering, start by trimming fingernails. Next, Soak and Seal your child’s skin before bed. The ideal Soak and Seal method is to have a lukewarm bath or shower for at least 10 minutes with minimal soap that has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance such as the Vaniply product line. Next, use an emollient like Vaniply to Seal in the moisture from the tub or bath immediately leaving the water. Apply a damp wrap under cotton pyjamas to create a damp wrap, which s also called Wet Wrap Therapy. This will calm the itch and repair the skin barrier to soothe itchy sleepers.
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Studies on Wet Wrap Therapy show an average reduction in symptoms by 70%. Make sure your damp wrap is FDA regulated and designated for Wet Wrap Therapy. These garments are specifically designed for the Wet Wrap Therapy Treatment; they also have features such as built in hand covers to prevent scratching and no entry points to itch. Tencel® fabric is wonderful for damp wrapping. Tencel® has been proven through verifiable testing to be superior for eczema and sensitive skin and the anti-itch fabric holds 50% more moisture than cotton. Never use synthetic fabrics for damp wrapping. Following these instructions and using the right garments will make the process much more effective and comfortable.
You might also consider mattress encasements to keep away dust mites, a known eczema trigger. This will create a barrier between the skin and any mites in the mattress. Try www.MissionAllergy.com for great dust mite bedding encasements as well as Tencel® bedding which is wonderful for nighttime eczema sufferers.
Itchiness is never fun, but when you take the right steps you can ensure that itchy eczema symptoms won’t interfere with a good night’s sleep.