Are you losing sleep over the constant need to scratch the dreaded itch? Are you searching high and low on ways to improve your sleep quality?
Fret not, we have some easily actionable tips on how you can greatly improve the quality of your sleep 10x and not wake up having to clean up the bloodstained bedsheets.
Why Is A Good Night's Sleep So Important?
Have you ever thought about why we spend almost one third of our lives sleeping away?
It is not because we want to, but it is an essential part of the body's recovery process. During our sleep, the brain is still working and processing the information from the day while the body undergoes maintenance processes such as cell repair.
A lack of sleep can affect not just physically, but also take a hit on your mental and cognitive abilities. You cannot function at your peak, and it may result in you making poor decisions. The cumulative effects can take a toll on your health and at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression.
For those of us with eczema, we would probably know better than anyone what it is like to be scratching non-stop throughout the night. We have a hard time trying to sleep with the itch, and while we do get some sleep, we are woken by another itchy patch. The lack of proper, uninterrupted sleep can certainly worsen our eczema condition further through the stress created.
How to Improve Your Sleep Quality Naturally?
Even though counting sheep is something that people try when they have a hard time sleeping at night, we're not going to include it in our list of tips to sleep through the night.
Avoid Heavy Meals
You will be surprised the preparation for bed time can start as early as your dinner. Stuffing yourself during dinner may lead to indigestion as there may not be enough time for the stomach to finish its work before we sleep. It can be difficult to sleep when you're feeling full as the bloating can make lying down in certain positions uncomfortable.
Our daily cuppa helps to prep us in the morning, so there's no reason why you would want to include caffeine as part of your dinner. The absence of caffeine in your system will make it so much easier to sleep and make you less jittery if you are not able to sleep.
Unless you want to wake up with a bad hangover, alcohol is a big no-no. While small amounts after dinner is fine, try to keep it in check based on your skin condition as alcohol is known to trigger eczema too.
Have a Regular Bedtime
We can set the body clock according to our usual sleeping and waking up patterns. Consider setting a cutoff timing to go to bed and a fixed time to wake up every morning even on weekends.
Avoid viewing on any digital displays
Display screens on digital devices emit blue light, which may disrupt the sleep cycle. The body may think that it is still too early too sleep and keeps itself active with the presence of blue light, just like in the day. Try to keep these devices out of the room, and use them at least one hour before you sleep.
Give yourself some time to unwind before bedtime
Heading to the bed with an active mind would be counterproductive. Take an hour before you sleep to have a nice bath, listen to your favorite music, meditate before you snuggle in your bed.
Your Choice of Mattress and bedding matters
If you do not feel comfortable on the mattress that you are sleeping on, chances are that you will not enjoy quality sleep. A quality mattress with the right firmness helps to give you the right support your body needs, and the choice can be really subjective.
The thread count on the bedding can make a difference too. For regular beddings, the thread count starts from 150 whereas the expensive bedding that feel really soft and cool to sleep on can be upwards of 500-count.
As for the material, a 100% cotton fabric or natural bamboo will make ideal choices for those with sensitive skin as it does not irritate with its smoothness and keeps you cool during your sleep.
If dust mites are on one of the triggers for your eczema or allergies, it will be a good idea to use protective covers on all pillows, mattressses and duvets.
Humidity and Temperature
While we may not be able to control the environment outdoors, we definitely have more control of what goes on in our house and bedroom.
During winter, it would be a good idea to have a humidifier at home to minimize the drying effects. Do take note of the heating settings and adjust it accordingly to your comfort levels as sweating indoors (especially in your bed) can be really uncomfortable.
During summer, don't be afraid to turn on the air-conditioning to cool down everyone at home. Sweating can trigger off an eczema flare-up too and cold showers can be really helpful to make yourself comfortable when you come home.
Keep your fingernails short
If you have a tendency to scratch yourself silly in the middle of the night, trim your nails short to limit any damage done to your skin caused by scratching.
Prepare for some quality bedtime
Take a lukewarm shower
It's always nice to have a warm shower at the end of a long day to calm your nerves and soothe your tired joints. But do not forget that a warm shower is not really recommended for eczema skin as it may irritate it, so go for lukewarm water instead.
Try to limit it your shower or bath to about 15-20 minutes. Once you are done, take a soft cotton towel and gently dry yourself instead of rubbing dry to avoid further irritation to your skin.
Bring on the moisturizers
Remember our golden rule - moisturize immediately after your shower. It has been said that the skin will absorb the moisturizer at its best when it is applied within the first three minutes after your shower. For us, we would just recommend as soon as possible.
Put on those comfortable pajamas
Make those 100% cotton pajamas an essential part of your wardrobe. For those of you who seek extra comfort and protection, you may put on gloves to prevent your short nails from doing any damage at all. This is particularly useful if you have hand eczema.
Set the mood right with essential oils
You may like to consider diffusing lavender oil in your bedroom to create a more relaxed mood. Lavender oil helps to calm nerves so that you can rest easy.
Turn off the lights
The last step before tucking into bed is to make sure that you turn off all lights in the your room. Maintaining a dark and quiet environment is especially conducive for sleeping.
Keep these tips handy and try them out tonight and see if they have helped to improve your sleep quality. Good night!