Night time exacerbation of skin itch not only disturbs sound sleep, but it also significantly affects the quality of life. Intense itching during night can occur in many dermatological as well as systemic conditions. Almost 60 to 65% of patients suffering from inflammatory skin problems may experience nightly itch. Patients suffering from psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, lichen planus, chronic Urticaria, scabies are known to experience night time itching.
Till now there is no clarity for why this occurs, researchers relate night time itching is associated to circadian rhythm (sleep and wake cycle), skin temperature etc. If you are suffering from itching at night, it is necessary to talk to your health care provider to know the possible causes.
What Causes Itching At Night?
- Skin allergy: some people are allergic to the material of their bed sheet. Others may be allergic to detergent and soaps used to wash these bed sheets. It is a common cause of itching during nighttime after you retire to the bed.
- Bites: mosquito and insect bite should not be forgotten, because most of the bites occur during night time.
- Cold and dry climate: there are some people who may experience itching all over their body in cold climate. The most probable reason for this is dry skin in cold climate.
- The same is true with extreme heat. Hot climate or hot shower bath during night time can lead to dryness of skin. When you sleep, your dry skin may further get irritated due to rubbing of the bed sheets. This may produce itching all over your body during sleep.
Certain skin diseases are also known to have exacerbation of skin itch during night, they are
- Psoriasis: It is a skin disorder which has characteristic scaly red patches. Itching is usually slight but occasionally it is troublesome. Generally the disorder begins in young adults, involving genitals, knees, back, elbows, scalp etc.
- Scabies: scabies is caused by tiny mites called sarcodes scabeii. They are found elbows, finger webs, underarms, genital area, buttocks and chest region etc. There is a similar history of intense itching in other family members. Itching disappears rapidly after treatment.
- Atopic dermatitis, candidiasis, fungal infection of skin, lichen planus, pediculosis pubis are other skin conditions can cause severe itching during night.
Systemic Reasons For Night Time Itching
Certain systemic diseases can cause generalized itching all over the body during night, such as:
- Night time itching may be a symptom of hypo or hyperthyroidism.
- Itching may occur with obstructive jaundice.
- In chronic renal failure, patient usually complains of itching all over the body during night. This troublesome symptom keeps him awake. Sometimes itching is very severe. Patient may scratch his skin till it starts to bleed.
- Diabetes: generalized and localized itching is common in diabetes. It is generally associated with secondary fungal infection.
- Senile nighttime itching: in aged persons generalized itching during night time is common. As a person ages, the oil producing glands are reduced and they dry out. So in cold weather and lack of humidity itching commonly occurs.
Natural Home Remedies For Itching Skin
Certain home remedies are known to be as effective as conventional medications in treating itching, especially during night.
- Use a good moisturizer as soon as you can, after bathing. Coconut oil is a good moisturizer that may be handy in your kitchen cabinet. Since the skin is still wet, it retains more moisture.
- Oat meal bath is an effective traditional home remedy for any type of itching, either at night hours or during day time.
- Apply moisturizer while going to bed.
- Cut your nails, even though scratching causes transient relief in itching, it is not advised as this may lead to infection.
- While bathing, use mild soaps that are devoid of harsh chemicals.
- Wear loose cotton fabric clothing while sleeping. Use bed sheets and coverings that do not irritate the skin.