Itchy skin at night: Causes, conditions, and relief

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this foliate, we may earn a small commission. here ’ s our action. Itchy skin at night, or nocturnal pruritus, is a common condition typically caused by natural bodily processes, conditions that irritate the skin, or medications.

several home remedies, equally well as over-the-counter and prescription medications, can help reduce symptoms. In rare cases, however, increased skin discomfort at nox can be a sign of more unplayful conditions, such as cancer or organ failure.

What is nocturnal pruritus?

itching a foot in bed share on PinterestSevere nocturnal pruritus may affect sleep. approximately one-fourth of adults in the United States will experience long-run skin itch during their life. This is called chronic pruritus. According to a 2016 survey, over 90 percentage of people with chronic pruritus complain of nocturnal pruritus ( NP ) or increased clamber itch at night. hard cases of NP frequently disrupt sleep and make it unmanageable to get a full night ’ randomness rest. Over clock, this can negatively impact emotional wellbeing, workplace performance, and overall health. Itching can besides cause skin price and increase the likelihood of infection.


Like many early bark conditions, skin itch may increase at night. The lifelike cycle of sealed hormones, molecules, and chemicals that occur in the body during the night can besides cause itch. In some cases, the skin may merely feel itchier during the night because of a lack of outside distractions. But night itch may besides be a sign of more serious health conditions. natural causes of night itch include :

Circadian rhythm

The torso regulates hormones and chemicals in part by using a circadian rhythm method of birth control, which is the body ’ s natural 24-hour cycle. The circadian rhythm causes few different fluctuations or changes that can increase night clamber itch. These include :

  • increased blood flow to the skin
  • increased skin temperature
  • increased cytokine, molecules that coordinate cells communication during immune responses, which may increase inflammation
  • decreased corticosteroid, hormones that help reduce inflammation
  • disrupted prostaglandin (PG), hormones that cause blood vessels to widen
  • increased water loss from the skin (sweat)

Menopause and pregnancy

Changes in the level of the hormone estrogen may cause dryness, itchy peel, or flushed bark. Some menopausal women describe the ace to feel like ants crawling under their skin .

Other causes

other coarse causes of night itch include : partake on Pinterest

Bed bugs may cause nighttime itchiness.

  • hives
  • insect bites, including those from bed bugs, lice, flies, or fleas
  • allergic reactions to chemicals, dyes, or fragrances
  • dry skin
  • sunburn or burn
  • chicken pox
  • stress
  • excessive sweating
  • nervous habit
  • medications, including antibiotics, antifungals, statins, and opioid analgesics (narcotics)

In rare cases, antsy skin at night can be a sign of more dangerous conditions or those that require treatment. These include :

  • eczema, a condition that causes long-term itchiness and a rash
  • psoriasis, an autoimmune condition
  • fungal skin infections, such as athlete’s foot (ringworm) and pinworm infections
  • thyroid conditions, especially an overactive thyroid
  • skin cancer
  • other cancers, in particular, immune and blood cell cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia
  • conditions that affect the nervous system, such as diabetes, shingles, and multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • HIV
  • kidney or liver failure
  • iron deficiency anemia
  • severe depression or anxiety

Home remedies

There are several easy ways to help decrease night itch without the use of medication. common ways to reduce dry peel at night include :

  • bathing in cool or lukewarm water before bed, using only moisturizing, scent-free soaps, baking soda, or colloidal oatmeal. These are available to purchase online.
  • applying glycerine based, oil- and alcohol-free moisturizers before bedtime, such as Cetaphil, Eucerin, or CeraVe
  • using natural ointments and creams with vitamin E and aloe vera
  • running a humidifier in the bedroom to moisten the air. Various types of humidifiers are available online.
  • applying a cool compress, such as a cold, damp cloth, to the skin before bed
  • using a fan to create airflow and background noise as a source of mental distraction
  • wearing gloves or mittens to avoid scratching, which can worsen symptoms
  • using meditation tapes or techniques when falling asleep. Books and audio guides are available.
  • practicing relaxation techniques, such as visualization, before bed
  • trimming the fingernails to reduce the chances of further irritating the skin
  • wearing loose fitting clothing to allow the skin to breathe
  • not allowing pets in the bedroom
  • checking the bedroom for signs of bed bugs or other insect infestations, including fleas or biting ants
  • drinking a caffeine-free tea, such as chamomile or peppermint, before bedtime
  • using 2 to 3 drops of a relaxing essential oil, such as lavender, on the pillow before bedtime. Compare different products before purchasing.


Making dim-witted life style changes can help reduce the risk of itchy clamber at night. Ways to prevent night itching admit : share on PinterestStaying hydrated may help to reduce dry skin.

  • staying hydrated to reduce dry skin
  • avoiding saunas and long, warm baths or showers before bedtime to prevent increased body temperature and moisture loss
  • wearing clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton
  • avoiding scented or dyed cosmetic, cleansing, or beauty treatments before bedtime
  • avoiding chemicals such as caffeine and alcohol that can increase blood flow to the skin
  • keeping the bedroom cool, or below 70°F, and make sure there is plenty of air flow
  • trying not to do activities that raise body temperature and increase blood flow to the skin before bedtime
  • changing bedding regularly, ideally weekly
  • treating all household pets that go outdoors with veterinarian-approved medications for parasites such fleas, tics, and ringworms


There are besides over-the-counter and prescription medications available that can help treat existing symptoms and prevent them from recurring. nonprescription medications used to treat and prevent night itch include :

  • Corticosteroid creams such as hydrocortisone cream, which may help reduce inflammation. Look for products with between 1 and 2.5 percent active ingredient.
  • Allergy medications, which may help reduce inflammation. These include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), fexofenadine (Allegra), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).
  • Supplements that increase drowsiness, such as melatonin, a natural hormone produced only at night.

prescription medications used to treat dry skin at night include :

  • Corticosteroid creams or pills, which are much stronger than over-the-counter medications and can help reduce itching caused by skin inflammation.
  • Antidepressants, such as doxepin (Silenor) and mirtazapine (Remeron) may help reduce itching caused by depression and anxiety.
  • Immunosuppressants, such as topical calcineurin inhibitors (Gengraf, Hecoria, Neoral), can help reduce inflammation.
  • Phototherapy, which uses UVB wavelengths to help reduce the skin’s immune response and decrease inflammation.
  • Gabapentin and pregabalin, which can help treat insomnia and reduce anxiety.
  • Kappa opioid agonists, which can help treat insomnia and reduce the sensation of itchiness.
  • Hormone replacement therapy, in particular estrogen based medications, which may help reduce dry skin and itchiness.

When to see a doctor

Chronic, or durable cases of night itch should be assessed by a repair, specially those not related to preexistent health conditions. A doctor should besides be consulted anytime dry hide at nox becomes annoying or interferes with everyday activities. Reasons to seek medical attention for dry bark at night include :

  • sudden, unexplained itchiness that lasts for more than 2 weeks
  • dry skin at night that does not improve with the use of home remedies or lifestyle changes
  • dry skin that interferes with sleep quality
  • dry skin or itchiness that affects the whole body
  • dry skin accompanied by other symptoms, such as skin changes, fever, tiredness, or weight loss
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