Do Your Suffer From Night-Time Skin Itching? This Could Be Why...
If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night, plagued by the desperate need to scratch your itchy limbs, this one’s for you. Not had the pleasure? Then read on to find out about the cause and cure, just in case. Approximately one-quarter of all adults in the US will suffer from long-term skin itchiness in their lifetime (chronic pruritus), and according to a 2016 study, 90% of those will experience this common nighttime symptom .
What’s causing my itchy skin after dark?
Occasional, mild itchiness at bedtime is not unusual, and could just be because there are less external distractions to prevent you from realizing your skin needs a scratch. Persistent itchy skin at nighttime on the other hand, with no discernible rash-like symptoms (like eczema or psoriasis), is called nocturnal pruritus. Not only is it incredibly irritating, but it can also be very uncomfortable and disruptive when you’re trying to get some much-needed shut-eye. In some cases, itchiness can even lead to skin damage and infection.
So, what causes Nocturnal Pruritus?
- Our body’s programmed to prepare us for sleep in the evening, and one way it does this is by raising our core temperature. This can increase blood flow to the skin, therefore causing itching.
- The heat our body produces at night leads to Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), which can also prompt that itchy sensation in the skin.
- In the evening, our anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are also at their lowest level, which means itching can be more noticeable.
- Chronic itching can heighten stress and depression, and as the itching continues to affect your sleep it exacerbates these symptoms further.
There are other general causes too:
Your skin needs an optimal environment to keep it in a healthy condition: having too-hot showers, air conditioning or central heating could all compromise the skin’s barrier, leaving you feeling uncomfortable. So, keep your bedroom at an even temperature, ideally between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t already take magnesium supplements, it may be that your body is depleted of this mineral at night after using up its stores in the daytime. Try taking a capsule before bed to ease itching symptoms and help you drift off.
What else can I do to stop nocturnal itching?Antihistamines may provide you with some relief from itching at night, but make sure to purchase the drowsy kind - as non-drowsy ones may contain caffeine that will keep you up!
As our lotion is hypoallergenic, it won’t irritate your skin. In fact, the oatmeal infusion with almond oil and cocoa butter is especially soothing and deeply hydrating. We include premium grade lavender to help you relax into slumber, while bergamot oil also encourages the production of natural relaxation hormones in the brain. Combine this with cedarwood oil, which induces the release of serotonin to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone), and you’re in for a restful night’s sleep, free from scratching disturbances.
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
Those going through the menopause or pregnancy may also suffer from dry and itchy skin, due to changes in the level of the hormone estrogen. Some menopausal women have described this sensation as feeling like ants crawling under the skin.
In rare cases, nocturnal pruritus can be an indicator of more severe health conditions, which require specialist treatment.
These include:- Conditions that affect the nervous system, such as diabetes, shingles, and multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Skin cancer
- Immune and blood cell cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia
- Kidney or liver failure
- Thyroid conditions
When to see a doctor:
Chronic or long-term episodes of nighttime itchy skin should be assessed by a doctor, particularly if the condition begins to impact your day-to-day life.
Consult a medical professional if you experience:- Sudden, unexplained itchiness that lasts for more than 2 weeks
- Severely disturbed sleep quality
- Dry skin at night that does not improve with lifestyle changes or home remedies
- Dry skin accompanied by other symptoms, e.g. fever, tiredness, or weight loss
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