It’s no secret that sleeping well is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. A good night’s rest consists of 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep. Unfortunately, eczema tends to itch more at night which can get in the way of the restful night you deserve.
Spending the night tossing, turning, and trying not to scratch, can lead to long-term negative consequences, including higher rates of day time fatigue and impaired cognitive development in children.
In this post, we discuss melatonin and eczema, and share some natural solutions that can help you get some much-needed shut eye.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural human hormone that’s mainly produced in the pineal gland in the brain. Our bodies produce melatonin naturally but some people take it as a sedative before bed to help them fall asleep quicker. It’s known to have minimal adverse effects which is why it’s often been linked to helping people with eczema or itchy skin fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Can Melatonin Cause Eczema?
Studies and research show that melatonin actually improves sleep disturbances and the severity of conditions like eczema.
In a 2016 study conducted on 48 people, melatonin supplements proved to be a safe and effective way for children with eczema to fall asleep faster. How? The hormone has been documented to help fight free radicals in our bodies and function as an anti-inflammatory agent. This is how it combats any eczema flare ups that may be keeping you up at night. It also helps regulate circadian rhythm which in turn regulates immune function and promotes better sleep.
Sleeping and Scratching
You may have noticed that your eczema feels itchier at night. You’re not alone. Sleep disturbance is reported in 47% to 80% of children with AD and in 33% to 87.1% of adults with AD.
But why does eczema seem to get worse at night? To start with, many people scratch subconsciously in their sleep. They then wake up feeling itchier than ever and have trouble falling back asleep.
As well, people may wake up in between sleep cycles due to the activation of the immune system during a flare up. In addition, a peak in body temperature can give rise to eczema-related itchiness. The itch-scratch cycle can also be exacerbated by decreased melatonin secretion and decreased sebum production which worsens skin dryness. Lastly, the skin barrier is most defective at night which explains why eczema feels itchier.
How to Sleep Better with Eczema
Although melatonin can help you sleep, it’s always best to treat your skin condition directly. Here are some tips for sleeping better with eczema:
Keep the skin moisturized
Hydrate your skin with a natural cream like this Baby and Adult Soother. It’s made with just three Chinese herbs in a base of olive oil and beeswax to calm itchy, irritated skin. It’s a safe and effective rash treatment on babies and adults alike.
Wear eczema-friendly sleepwear
Wearing comfortable pajamas can help protect the skin from scratching while simultaneously boosting the healing process. We love soft, breathable fabrics like cotton and TENCEL.
Here are a few of our recommendations:
Try wet wrap therapy
Wet wrap therapy gives your skin a much needed boost of moisture and intense relief. The process involves applying a natural moisturizer and then covering up with a damp layer and dry layer of clothing. The damp layer helps lock in moisture and allows the emollient to better permeate the skin. Leave the wet wraps on overnight.
Invest in scratch protection
Wearing gloves or mittens can reduce the risk of scratching and causing damage unconsciously while you sleep. Here are some ways to protect your skin:
Breathable Eczema Bedding
Not all bedding was created equal. If rough fabric is keeping you up at night or if your bedding is causing you to overheat, check out these natural sheets and pillow cases: