Creating The Perfect Sleeping Conditions

Sleep is integral for day-to-day functioning. Yet, almost 30% of people don’t get enough time in bed. This figure is significant for eczema sufferers because poor sleep is a big factor in causing flare-ups.

Sadly, the evidence suggests that sleeping with eczema is considerably more difficult. This is because we’re often itching, even at night, leading to poorer quantity and quality of sleep.

But you can take steps to elevate your chances of a restful night's sleep. Here are our tips on improving your sleep…

Optimise your sleeping environment

Bedrooms should be cool, dark and tech-free spaces. Our sleep cycles are wired to recognise the darkness, so mobile phones/gadgets/other gizmos can disrupt this.

Instead, try to get into the habit of putting any electronic devices aside 30-60 minutes before trying to sleep. Yes, you heard that right. #bringbackthebooks

Keeping rooms cool and well-ventilated is also essential. To achieve this, try switching to 100% cotton bedding sheets and low-tog duvets to prevent overheating. The tog of a duvet just means how much heat it keeps in, so the lower it is, the less you'll overheat!

Choose your bedding wisely

Surprisingly, your bedding can potentially have a significant impact on your eczema. So aside from using a low-tog duvet, you'll want to buy hypoallergenic bedding. To prevent skin irritation, you’ll also want to avoid any pillows with feathers or made from synthetic fibres.

Limit caffeine intake

You might be sitting there thinking this is easy as you guzzle down the 5th cup of coffee today.

But think again, you budding caffeine addict. Because caffeine is found in everything from coffee to tea and even some chewing gums.

What’s most surprising is that caffeine can take 4-6 hours to wear off! Meaning that your 5pm cup of tea may very well be keeping you up at night...

Stop Exercising Late

Exercise is great and all (we really do mean this). But, still, it might actually be affecting your sleep.

That’s because it’s been shown to release chemicals called endorphins which make it challenging to begin the sleep process. So if you can, try to get your exercise in nice and early.

Avoid your bed

If you can’t sleep, avoid your bed as much as possible. This is because our brain associates certain places with sleep.

If you’re not managing to sleep for more than 10-15 mins, the best thing to do is hop straight out of bed and take a seat elsewhere.

Then, once your mind is no longer racing in excitement for the day ahead, return to bed and try to sleep again.

The purpose is to form a habit in your brain that sleeping is designed purely for your bed. So if you’re out every time you struggle, your brain creates a routine to wind down as soon as you hit the deck.

Use Anti-histamines

If you’re still having problems with your sleep despite doing all the right things, you might want to consider anti-histamines. These are fancy medications that stop the release of a chemical called histamine.

There you have it, a bunch of techniques to get you to sleep quicker and more effectively. Try to incorporate these into your routine, and we’ll check in on how you’re doing later this week.

August 1, 2022
Dr Noreen Akram
Proton Health Programme
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