It’s the perennial question for parents of itchy little people: why is eczema so much worse at night, when everyone really needs to be asleep? The sleepless nights of an eczema-ridden childhood are like salt in the wound for already overstretched parents. So why does it happen and what can you do to help?
A baby with eczema can flare up and get more itchy at night for several reasons. Let’s take a look at a few, so it’s easier to find solutions for the problem!
Getting too hot
Babies can get overheated night, from thick bedding or too many layers of clothing. Try cooler, lighter clothing or bedding, and keep the temperature in their bedroom down a notch.
Clothes and bedsheets should be made of the least irritating material as possible if your little one is scratching all night; if you can, try using 100% cotton, bamboo or hemp fibres rather than wool or polyester.
Bedding or sleepsuits can have detergent residue and cause irritation because of the prolonged contact with skin. Run clothes and bedding through an extra wash cycle without detergent to remove any lingering detergent.
Babies’ short sleep-wake cycles mean their temperature and consciousness rises and falls often, which affects both their itchiness and their awareness of it. They’re often in a semi-conscious state that allows them to start scratching, but means they’re too sleepy to be distracted.
Babies may not have their emollients applied as frequently at night time, because parents are worried about waking them. Leaving it longer between applications can result in their skin drying out and getting itchy.
A bath before bed can help calm a baby and get her used to a routine, but it can also increase itching, if it’s too hot, too long, or involves bubbles! All those things can strip moisture from the skin, leaving it dry and itchy. If you do give your eczema-prone baby a bath, make it relatively short, luke warm and free from any product, except maybe an all-natural oil, and make sure to moisturise immediately afterwards.
If the room your baby sleeps in is dusty, dry, or occupied by pets as well as humans, the atmosphere may not be conducive to a good night’s sleep. Keep pets out, carpets and curtains clean, the air purified and humidity at a healthy level! You can buy HEPA air filters, HEPA vacuum cleaners, and humidifiers to keep the environment as eczema-friendly as possible.
Recommended products for babies prone to eczema:
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream
with shea butter and calendula
Bath & Body Oil
with lavender, hemp and olive
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.