Who Needs Sleep When You Have Eczema?

Who Needs Sleep When You Have Eczema?

When you have eczema, it can often be at its worst just as you’re about to drop off into a nice, well-needed, deep sleep. Eczema is an exhausting condition to live with and the way it messes with you getting your zzz’s can be just one of its super frustrating effects.

Why not pin it for later?

No sleep with Eczema pinterest pin

It’s something I’ve always found the most annoying about having Eczema. I like my sleep and when my skin is behaving, I’m one of those people that can have a hell of a lie in. But if my skin is playing up, even a little bit, I can kiss my good night’s sleep goodbye.

Need to know more about Eczema? Make sure to ready my post that explains all about it – What is Eczema? CC”s Ultimate Guide to Itchy Skin!

Why does Eczema get worse at night?

I’m no scientist or doctor so I don’t know the ins and outs of exactly why Eczema gets worse at night. From what I’ve learned while researching, there seems to be a few different reasons that might cause this strange skin behaviour.

Different hormones are at different levels at night

There were a few mentions of cortisol levels perhaps being a causing factor to the night time Eczema-pades (get it?). Cortisol is the body’s anti-inflammatory hormone and is usually at its lowest during the night. It then rises again in the morning. 

This can cause your body to become more irritated during the night, leading to an increase in itching. The more you’re itching, the more your sleep is being disturbed.

Lack of distractions

Another reason Eczema might get worse at night could be the lack of something to keep your mind off your skin. I’m pretty sure this is a factor for me in particular. During the day, you might be busy with work or school or even just getting on with daily life. Whatever it is, it can usually keep your mind off your Eczema for the most part. 

Now I’m not saying that during the day we just completely forget about how itchy our skin is – because we definitely don’t. It is usually on my mind at least 90% of the time. But because I have other things to do, I’m not dwelling on it too much and I’m not able to give it as much attention.

When it comes to bedtime and you’re all snuggled up under the covers waiting to drop off, it’s just you and your thoughts. And those thoughts are often about how goddamn itchy your Eczema is right now. 

Unless you’ve taught yourself to knit in your sleep, generally your hands are pretty free. So while you’re thinking to yourself, my god I could just scratch my arms off right now – your hands are probably already doing it.

The more tired you are…

If you’re already facing some fatigue this could be a reason you’re suffering more with your Eczema during the night.

Maybe you’ve had a particularly long and stressful day? Or run a super long marathon? If you’re already quite tired when you go to bed, it’s possible you might feel the effects of the itch a little more severely. I guess thinking about it, it makes sense. You’re tired, you’ve had enough for today, you just want to get your head down. But there’s a niggling little itch, slowly driving you crazy and just getting worse as the night goes on. 

These are just a couple examples of the possible explanations I’ve found for why Eczema can feel worse during the night. It seems like there isn’t one confirmed reasoning for it. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those strange Eczema things that make living with the condition that much more fun…not.

Eczema and exhaustion…what effects does it have?

Anyone knows that when they don’t get enough sleep it can mess up their whole day. So, when it comes to lack of sleep because of your Eczema it can really cause some issues the following day.

I’m not moody, I’m just tired

If you’ve ever babysat or if you have kids then you know that if they don’t get their nap or a good night’s sleep then you better prepare yourself. Prepare for the mood that’s sure to follow, the tantrums and kick offs. 

Well, when you get older you don’t grow out of it. You just learn to manage it in a different way. You’re probably still going to have terrible mood swings (maybe even have a few tantrums here and there) but it’s not because you’re a grumpy sod. You’re just tired. 

You’ve been up all night, maybe even every night that week. Your body isn’t running with the energy levels it needs and all you want is a good night’s sleep – so no, Janet, I’m not interested in talking to you about the last episode of Love Island. I want to get my work done and go home. (Sorry, Janet.)

You can read more about the difficulties Eczema can cause to your mental health in this post – 5 Way’s Eczema Can Affect Your Mental Health!

Sleep schedule? Never heard of it

Something I hear a lot when I mention my issues with sleeping is “you need to go to bed earlier.” In theory, I suppose this makes sense. But for me it just doesn’t seem to work like that. 

When you have eczema it can be difficult to keep a sleep schedule

If I went to bed earlier, I might manage to get an extra hour – maybe. The more likely scenario is that I lay in bed waiting to fall asleep, meanwhile my skin is revving itself right up. Going to bed earlier doesn’t mean I’ll get any sleep, it just changes when I try to get some sleep. 

I can often still be awake till the sun’s shining through the blinds. Eventually, I’ll drop off and I’ll manage to get a couple hours of sleep but it’ll be with raw skin and probably blood stained bedding. When my skin is a little better, the stains are replaced with a flake fest. Let me know which is your favourite in the comments…

Having any skin condition can cause your sleep schedule to be well and truly ruined and it’s usually very hard to try and fix it.

I’m just going to take a nap

Have you ever been on the bus and found your eyes going? Or been sat in a meeting at work and had to keep pinching yourself so you don’t end up snoring? 

The problem with not being able to sleep at night means that we’re soo much sleepier during the day! I’ve spent entire days yawning and wishing I was in bed, only to finally lay down and still be awake the next morning, trying not to itch and definitely itching.

Thing is, it can become more than just a physical issue. It can actually be a little embarrassing sometimes. You don’t want to be that person who’s eyes keep shutting while you’re trying to have a conversation with someone.

I’m too tired to come out today…

When your Eczema keeps you awake all night it can impact other aspects of your social life. You might have to turn down going out with friends or family because you’re just simply too exhausted. 

For me, if I’m exhausted from a sleepless night because of my skin, I find that my social battery is even lower than normal.  I often just don’t have the energy to spend time with other people and making conversation can be a struggle.

If you want to know more about my personal skin journey, have a read of this post where I go into detail about my life with Eczema – Living with Eczema: The Good, The Terrible and The Itchy!

It’s incredibly frustrating when your skin condition prevents you from doing the simplest of things, like going out with friends, like being able to focus at work, like getting a good night’s sleep. 

It’s a basic thing that people often overlook when it comes to Eczema. They think it’s a skin condition so it affects the skin – which is true. But the effect it can have on your sleep can be a real struggle to try and manage and I think it’s really important that more people understand this part of having Eczema. 

At this moment in time, I haven’t been able to find a solution to my sleepless nights. I still find myself up till all hours every night. Sometimes I even do it intentionally because I know there’s no point in me trying to go to sleep because I’ll be fighting the itch eventually. 

I’m going to do some more research and try out a few suggestions, see if there’s anything that works for me and I’ll be sure to update you guys if I find anything! So keep an eye out for future posts about Eczema and your sleep!

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