Oh, the agony and irritation of itching!
We've all been there. Itchy skin on its own can be bothersome. But there's a special kind of torment when skin itch at night rears its head just as we are drifting off. That late-night scratch-fest is known as nocturnal pruritus. Or, for those of us not fluent in medicalese, nighttime itching. In this article, we'll delve into the itchy world of nocturnal pruritus. And we'll figure out why it seems to get itchier when we're trying to catch those much-needed z's.
We'll do our best to keep it interesting. Though if you find the subject boring, perhaps reading this can help you get to sleep!
Overview of the Symptoms and Causes That Make Your Skin Itch at Night
Nighttime itching can be the bane of a peaceful night's sleep. It lurks in the shadows like a hive army set on bothering us just when we need our rest. Nocturnal pruritus does not discriminate. It affects both the healthy and those with underlying medical conditions. And there is no shortage of factors that cause itchy skin.
Skin itch at night can result from water loss, cancers such as lymphoma, and liver or kidney disease. It can also result in the production of corticosteroids. These chemicals can cause the urge to scratch and interfere with sleep.
But fear not, dear itchy reader, there are options to help soothe your restless skin! Before diving into medical treatments, however, we want to make sure our knowledge is on point. So we turn to academic research institutions and peer-reviewed studies. This helps us to ensure we provide accurate and reliable information for our readers.
One study found that doxepin, a sedative, may help nocturnal pruritus by helping you sleep! For those preferring more natural treatments, colloidal oatmeal could be for you. This soothing ingredient can be found in many over-the-counter medications. It works wonders on itchy and inflamed skin when dissolved in a bath of cool or lukewarm water. It's the perfect nighttime relaxation ritual before bed.
Always remember to consult with your healthcare professional before starting any medical treatments. This goes for making any dietary changes as well; even if those treatments are labeled as natural. In some cases, skin itch at night may be a sign of a more serious condition, chronic pruritus. Linked to certain cancers or certain hormones, it can play havoc with your body. Your healthcare professional can help confirm the ailment and suggest appropriate treatments.
Now that we've got the top level stuff out of the way, let's get into the nitty gritty.
What are the causes of itchy skin at night?
It’s a simple question with a potentially complicated answer that's hard to diagnose. Let’s break down some of the more common terminology. How does it relate to potential reasons for itchy skin at night, and what's causing your itch?
If you’re experiencing more itchiness at night, it may be due to a condition known as nocturnal pruritus. It is also known as nocturnal itch or nighttime itch.
The definition of the condition is when itching occurs only at night or worsens at night. Many people with this condition may also have a daytime itch, but notice itching more at night.
Nocturnal pruritus is a fairly common condition. It's caused by a number of factors, including lifestyle factors.
Why does my skin itch worse at night? Circadian rhythm and itch triggers
Additionally, skin temperature and blood flow to the skin tend to be higher at night. This results in a decrease in the efficacy of the skin barrier. This in turn leads to greater moisture loss and can irritate your skin and make your skin itch.
Note when the itchiness starts and how long it lasts. What makes it better or worse? Note any other relevant information. This can help you and your doctor narrow down the potential causes for the irritated skin.
Treatment to soothe your skin
The diagnosis and treatment for nocturnal pruritus often focuses on relieving the itch. The goal is to prevent it from disrupting sleep. This is somewhat dependent on the underlying cause.
The first step to solving the issue is to understand what may be causing it.
Common causes of nighttime itching
There are a variety of reasons that itchy skin may be caused by:
- Dry Skin
- Insect Bites
- Stress or Anxiety
- Scratching in and of itself
- A symptom of an underlying condition
Let’s take a look at each of these in a little more detail:
You can also try using a moisturizer before bed. Choose one that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid or shea butter. This will help lock in moisture. There are many products on the market that your healthcare provider may recommend. But it's important to make sure that any additional drying effects are minimized.
Itching is often worse at night because that’s when the body’s natural inflammatory process ramps up. During the day, we’re constantly moving around and using our muscles. This helps to reduce inflammation. At night, however, we’re still and our bodies have a chance to rest and repair.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend some over-the-counter allergy medications (antihistamines), like diphenhydramine. It's important to note that they can cause drowsiness.
If you have severe itching, a stronger prescription medicine may be needed for relief.
If you’ve been bitten by a bug, chances are the itching will be worse at night.
Our inflammatory response is triggered when we’re trying to sleep. This is partly because our bodies are not distracted by other stimuli. Whether it’s bed bugs or chiggers, itchy skin at night with bumps on the skin can be maddening and make it hard to sleep.
There are a few things you can do to ease the itch of bug bites. The best skin care treatment for a bug bite is to first clean it with soap and water. Then apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion.
If you’re unsure what’s causing your skin to become irritated, use a hypoallergenic soap or detergent. and see if that helps. You can also try switching to a different type of pajama or sheet fabric. Materials such as cotton are less likely to irritate the skin.
In addition, allergies can be more pronounced at night. Often times when we sleep, the position we’re in can exacerbate the allergies.
Sinus allergies, for example, can be made worse by lying down flat. This position can cause the sinuses to drain into the throat. This can lead to a cough, as well as increased itchiness in the nose and throat. To help ease nighttime allergies, try using a saline nasal rinse before bed. This will help to clear out the allergens and irritants from your nose and sinuses. You can also try using an over-the-counter antihistamine or decongestant. If you have a dust mite allergy, it’s important to keep your bedroom clean and free of dust. Vacuum the floors and surfaces often, and wash your bedding in hot water weekly.
Scratching itself can lead to itching
Itching is often worse at night because we’re not distracted from it, as we are during the day. When you scratch an itch, you can break the skin barrier. This can allow moisture to escape and bacteria to enter. This can lead to even more itching and irritation, and possibly a skin infection. This restarts the itch-scratch cycle. This is why it's so important to try not to scratch.
When to see a doctor
In most cases, itchy skin at night is not a sign of a serious underlying medical condition or skin disease. However, if you have any other symptoms along with the itching, see your dermatologist. They can rule out any potential causes.
Some medical conditions like kidney disease or liver disease can cause an increase in histamine levels. This can also lead to skin itching or an itchy rash at night. If you’re experiencing this condition, talk to your doctor to determine the cause of itching and the best course of treatment.
Less itching, more snoozing: home remedies for nighttime itching
In science and medicine, there’s rarely a “one size fits all” approach that’s effective. This is certainly true for the different underlying causes that can cause itching at night.
However, when it comes to nocturnal pruritus relief (and sleep), the goal is the same: Stop the itch.
Here are several home remedies that you can be doing to help soothe itchy skin and get a good night's rest:
- Using a humidifier in your bedroom
- Avoiding hot showers or baths, and opting to bathe in lukewarm water at night instead
- Gentle cleansing with an unscented soap
- Wearing loose-fitting, cotton clothing
- Avoiding scratching
- Using a cool compress
- Use of a moisturizer before bedtime
The secret weapon in the fight against nocturnal pruritusAll of the above are great steps to take in your path to itch free slumber. But sometimes it’s less about the journey more like “beam me up, Scotty; I want to get there NOW!” If you want fast-acting relief from itchy skin at night, you want Dermeleve®.
Dermeleve® was created to stop itch dead in its tracks. Period.
At some point in our lives, most of us will experience the misery of itchy skin. And for some unlucky folks, that itchiness will be relentless, coming and going without regard to the time of day—or night.
However, with a little care and attention, itchiness at night can be manageable. A few simple steps can help to reduce itching, especially at night and promote a good night’s sleep:
Use a humidifier to keep the air moist.
Wear loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers.
Applying a soothing lotion before bedtime.
Dermeleve® is a safe, fast-acting, long-lasting solution. It works to relieve your itchy skin with no steroids.
It just might be the solution you’ve been searching for. And if you haven’t made up your mind yet about Dermeleve®, well, sleep on it.
Q: What are the possible causes of itchy skin at night?
A: There are several possible causes of itchy skin at night, including changes in body temperature, hormonal changes, skin irritation, infestation, and health conditions that are active at night.
Q: Can inflammation cause itchy skin at night?
A: Yes, inflammation can contribute to nighttime itching. Inflammation in the skin can cause itchy sensations, making it harder to fall asleep.
Q: What are some home remedies for itchy skin at night?
A: Applying cool compresses, taking a lukewarm bath, and avoiding skin irritants or allergens can help relieve itchy skin at night. However, if the itching persists, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider.
Q: Are there any medical treatments for itchy skin at night?
A: Yes, there are several medical treatments for itchy skin at night, including topical creams, antihistamines, and medications that have a sedative effect to help with sleep. Dermeleve® is a safe and effective topical treatment that provides fast relief from itchy skin.
Q: What are some health conditions that may cause itchy skin at night?
A: Health conditions that are active at night, such as eczema, psoriasis, and scabies, can cause itchy skin at night. It is important to talk to your provider if you suspect you have one of these conditions. They have been trained to know about itchy skin conditions and how to identify them.
Q: Can taking a lukewarm bath before bed help with itchy skin at night?
A: Yes, taking a lukewarm bath can help reduce inflammation and soothe irritated skin, which can lead to less itching at night.
Q: Are there any serious health conditions that may cause itchy skin at night?
A: Yes, in rare cases, itchy skin at night may be a symptom of a more serious health condition, such as liver disease or kidney failure. If you have concerns about your symptoms, it is important to visit a healthcare provider.
Q: Why am I more prone to feeling itchy at night?
A: The body's natural sleep cycle can cause changes in body temperature and cytokine production, making the skin more prone to itchiness at night. Additionally, there may be fewer distractions at night, allowing the sensation of itchiness to be more noticeable.
Q: Can certain foods or environmental factors contribute to nighttime itching?
A: Yes, certain foods, environmental allergens, and irritants can contribute to nighttime itching. It is important to identify and avoid these triggers if possible.