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Can lack of sleep cause eczema

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Sleep is one of the most important aspects affecting your general wellbeing. Sleep deprivation can be devastating for your health, from impaired immune system to increased irritability and stress. As anyone who has ever experienced it will tell you - it's no fun. 

We've spoken about this before, but lack of sleep can also have a very large impact on the appearance and health of your skin. Sleep deprivation reduces the ability of the skin barrier to hydrate itself and produce collagen, leading to dull, dry skin, and wrinkles.

Also, abnormal stress levels caused by sleep deprivation can cause inflammatory responses in your skin, such as itchy skin, acne, wrinkles. It can also flare-up existing skin conditions, such as eczema.

Those of us living with eczema will know that this can lead to a vicious cycle - sleep deprivation causes higher stress levels, leading to eczema flare-ups, which make sleep practically impossible and so on. 

Unfortunately sometimes we do have moments when we can't get that 8-hour beauty sleep, however in order not to enter this vicious cycle there are a few eczema tips that can help relieve that itch during night time: 

  • Eliminate air pollutantsinstall an air cleaner or purifier to get rid of all the harmful allergens and bacteria in the air
  • Have the right temperature in your bedroom - make sure the the room is cool enough, around 20 degrees (Celsius), because heat is an itch trigger
  • Get rid of dust mites - there are millions of tiny bugs that are in your bed feeding off dead skin cells. Make sure to wash your bedding regularly in high temperatures, as well as your pillows and duvet
  • Ensure the right humidity level - use either a humidifier or a dehumidifier in your bedroom to ensure that humidity is not in an extreme level
  • Wear light clothing - make sure you are not wearing any artificial fabrics, as well as tight or restrictive clothing, it will prevent your skin from breathing, blocking the pores will irritate skin tissues and cause itching
  • Apply some topical treatments before sleep - apart from the usual moisturising routine, it is worth applying some anti-itch herbal skin paste, these will usually contain natural calming ingredients such as aloe vera, camomile, calendula and others.
  • Consider wearing safe scratch clothing - a lot of the scratching is usually done when we are asleep and don't realise it, causing more irritation. It is worth wearing long-sleeved clothing and possibly gloves. 

We hope some of these tips will help and you can get on with your "beauty sleep". Sweet dreams!  

Special thanks for inspirational credits to: Cure Eczema Slowly, NCBI, Sleepdex, The Flawless Program, Skin Magazine

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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