Sleep and eczema

Many people talked about the impact of eczema on sleep. They saw rest as an important part of a ‘healthy lifestyle’, in addition to diet and exercise/sport.

Getting enough sleep was something that a lot of people with eczema struggled with. Often they found that their skin became itchy at night time, which made them scratch. This could be painful and cause bleeding, and many would wake up having scratched in their sleep. Sarah says sleep deprivation became a ‘bad cycle’ for her: eczema disturbed her sleep which in turn made the eczema worse and more of a disruption.

Other concerns for sleep and eczema include: having comfy pyjamas and sheets; emollients (or blood, from scratching) sticking to the sheets; overheating; and issues with staying over at someone’s house (like feeling self-conscious about putting on emollients, worrying about the washing powder used on bedding and getting blood on their sheets).

Ele talks about some of the problems with sleeping, including overheating during the night and bed linen irritating her skin.

Age at interview 22

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 2

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Regularly being unable to fall asleep or waking up during the night could make it difficult to focus at school, in lectures or at work. Shams struggles to concentrate in lessons when he’s sleep deprived and once fell asleep during a mock exam. Lack of sleep made people feel irritable and Ele pointed out that it ‘take a toll on mental health‘.

Cat sleeps better now she’s working than when she was at university.

Age at interview 24

Gender Female

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George’s sleep used to be very disrupted and this would make him grumpy.

Age at interview 17

Gender Male

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Some people had strategies to help them sleep better. These include: taking sleeping tablets; taking antihistamines, some of which cause drowsiness, and can help with itchiness; moisturising before going to sleep and, for some, using wet wraps; putting on gloves to limit scratching; wearing comfy pyjamas; and keeping the bedroom cool.

Sleep deprivation is a concern for Georgia. She has a number of strategies for winding down at the end of a day.

Age at interview 20

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 4

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Family life and eczema

The young people we interviewed often talked about their families and homes. Many lived with eczema since they were young. They had heard stories from...