It can be so hard as a parent to watch your child struggle with sleep when they’re uncomfortable from eczema!
Having a child with any form of chronic illness, even when it’s something as mild as eczema, can be very stressful for parents. The feelings of helplessness you endure when you watch your child in pain or discomfort are truly difficult to overcome. Studies even show that parents with children with eczema sleep worse too.
However, you can help your little one with sleep even during an eczema flare. Here are our top 5 tips for helping your baby with eczema to sleep better at night!
But first, why does that even matter?
Most people are not aware of the fact that they wake at least two to six times a night. In terms of eczema, this is important for two reasons. First, during these brief arousals, the itch sensation may kick in and the reflex of scratching begins.
Unfortunately, the reflexive scratching will often result in increased itching/scratching and may even result in bleeding. Remember that a sleep cycle is shorter in children, so it may appear as if your child is scratching in their sleep every hour on the hour.
Between 10 and 20% of all children have eczema, and it can really mess with their sleep. Up to 83% of children whose eczema is ﬂaring up have difficulties falling and staying asleep.
Improving their sleep may help them not to become so uncomfortable during those brief wakings during the night.
Tip #1. Remember good sleep hygiene.
That includes things like: a nightly bedtime routine, no screen time for 1-2 hours before going to sleep, a consistent and predictable bed time and even waking around the same time each day.
Also, exposing your child to sunlight first thing in the morning as well as throughout the day can be helpful in producing sleep hormones later in the evening, improving their sleep.
Tip #2. Don’t forget the sleep environment.
A sleep conducive environment is dark, cool, and uses white noise.
Overheating can really add to a baby’s discomfort when they are already struggling to sleep. Moreover, too much heat will cause your baby to sweat, and sweating intensifies the itchy painfulness of eczema. As such, it’s important to make sure that the environment your baby is sleeping in is cool enough. We are coming into the summer season, when even indoors can seem muggy, so it’s all the more important to set your air conditioning system to a temperature that will ensure a baby stays cool.
Use a humidifier; dry skin makes atopic dermatitis (eczema) worse, so running a humidifier, which provides a cool or warm mist, can keep the environment less drying.
Tip #3. Take care of their skin as best as you can.
If you’ve found something magical that controls their flares, don’t give it up! Use medicated creams if you’re under the care of a physician for your child’s eczema. Otherwise, moisturizing before bedtime can be really helpful in reducing the itchiness. Always ensure that the product you choose is suitable for the age range of your baby.
Tip #4. Choose non-itchy fabrics for pajamas.
For a baby with eczema, choose a soft and natural fabric that soothes their skin. One such fabric is bamboo. Bamboo is an environmentally friendly material that is made without any chemicals. Its gentleness and luxuriousness will help your baby nod off to sleep much better than fabrics that itch their already compromised skin. Not only this, but bamboo fibers are three degrees lighter than traditional cotton, which can make all the difference to a baby who is uncomfortably warm and itchy.
Tip #5. If you’re giving a bath before bed, use lukewarm water.
Making the water too warm can dry out skin and increase itchiness. You’ll also want to moisturize as soon as you can after getting out of the bath to help lock in moisture
As always, it's a great idea to collaborate with your physician and dermatologist (and anyone else on your medical team) to find a treatment that keeps your little one comfortable all day and night!
Author Bio: Ashley Olson is a certified pediatric sleep consultant, owner of Heaven Sent Sleep and The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness, and passionate about helping new parents, experienced parents, desperate and sleep-deprived parents form healthy sleep habits for their children.
She has over 4 years of experience in working with families and has completed over 150 hours of coursework plus continuing education related to infant and toddler sleep. The focus of her work is on fostering a routine that grows your bond with your child while improving their sleep habits. She specializes in custom sleep plans and one on one support in changing sleep practices!