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How to get an eczema child to sleep

Babies and children with eczema often find sleeping a problem as their skin can get hotter and itchier at night. During the daytime, the body produces a natural anti-inflammatory called cortisol. Unfortunately, our cortisol levels drop during the night. This means that eczema sufferers are genuinely more itchy at night than they would be during the day. This can affect their mood and concentration the following day, especially during flare ups. And a bad night’s sleep can make an itchy day even harder to get though. But how on earth can you help an eczema child to sleep?

Here are some things that help our scratchy, eczema son to sleep well and wake up bouncing:

  • Applying moisturiser before bedtime stories to allow it time to soak in – we have naked teeth cleaning in our house!
  • If you are using hydrocortisone cream on damaged skin make sure you do this at least half an hour before bedtime. This means that any stinging has time to subside.
  • Wearing loose fitting, cotton nightwear – short sleeved pyjamas and ScratchSleeves work well for us
  • Keeping his bedroom cool and using a humidifier (or damp washing!) when the central heating is on
  • Using light cotton and natural-fibre bedding
  • Keeping fluffy pets out of the bedroom
  • Listening to audiobooks as he falls asleep. They distract him enough to ignore the itch but not enough to keep him awake. We just have to make sure they aren’t too exciting (or that he knows the story already). He listened to the How to Tame Your Dragon series every night from the point he discovered them in about Y3 until well into his senior school years.
  • Using Children’s Piriton on really scratchy nights. This doesn’t work for all children but it makes Max sleepy enough to doze off even if it doesn’t reduce the itching.
  • Keeping house dust mites to a minimum by airing bedding daily over a chair, dusting regularly with a damp cloth (don’t forget any mobiles!), machine washing then freezing soft toys for 24 hours and replacing his carpet with hard floors and machine washable rugs*

When he was very small we found that swaddling really helped too.

*NICE guidelines suggest not trying to eradicate house dust mites as a first step in dealing with eczema as it is costly and not necessarily effective.  However, we have known house dust allergies in the family and already had a lot of these measures in place so it seemed sensible, and proved effective, to extend them to Max’s room.

These ideas have really helped to get our eczema child to sleep, what has worked for yours?


Here at ScratchSleeves we don’t just share our experiences of bringing up an eczema child and favourite allergy friendly recipes, we also manufacturer and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts and PJs for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-adult years in a range of colours. Visit our shop for more information.

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Written by:

Coming from a family of eczema sufferers, Jae draws on years of practical, first hand experience living with eczema.

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