Though atopic dermatitis can make sleeping well difficult there are actions you can take to sleep better.
1. COOL BEDROOM
Overheating at night and sweating can really lead to a flare up and increase the impulse to scratch. Having a cool sleeping environment is key to alleviate the symptoms of eczema. Keep your bed room cool, this also improves on sleep quality in general. Our bedrooms should ideally be below 18°c / 64.5°F. If your bedroom gets hot during summer keep the blinds/ curtains as well as windows closed during the day and open to air out when it gets cooler at night. Use a fan or air conditioning to get a cooling air flow.
2. SOOTHING SLEEPWEAR
The best pyjamas for eczema should help you keep the best micro climate, ensure you don’t overheat and quickly wick moisture away from your skin. Look for natural, breathable and lightweight and soft fabrics. Your bed linen and bedding should also be breathable to avoid heat build-up during the night.
3. COOLING DIET
To avoid overheating at night have a light meal before going to bed, heavy meals keep our metabolism working at night and as a result our body temperature increases. Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine. As Dr med Lutz Graumann puts it: "A no-go for good sleep is alcohol. The moment we drink alcohol, there is absolutely no restorative sleep."
4. REDUCE SCRATCHING
Reduce night time scratching by using gloves at night, this also helps to ensure that if you do scratch you are less likely to break your skin. Trim your nails so they’re less likely to cause histamine release or break your skin if you do end up scratching.
5. AVOID DRY SKIN
Apply moisturizer on the areas of your body prone to eczema before going to bed. This helps to counter any itching at night.
Stress has been linked to breakout of eczema, it may have to do with a link between the stress hormone cortisol and inflammation levels in your body. Create a stress-free sleep environment by creating a bed time ritual:
- Create a to do list before going to bed: note down what is on your mind and set is aside for tomorrow. Keep a pen and paper next to your bed so you don’t activate your brain trying to remember them.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation: if you can’t sleep, work through your body from your toes to the tip of your head, tensing each of your muscles and then relaxing completely.
- Avoid working just before going to bed: leave your laptop, mobile phone, and any worries behind the bedroom door.
7. SLEEP ROUTINE
Going to bed at the same time every day also helps to set our mind and bodies for a good night’s sleep.