Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
A girl with eczema on her arm is laying in a bed with eyes forcibly open.

Painfully Trying To Sleep with Eczema

Sleeping with eczema can be one of the most terrifying things that one can ever experience. You would think that going to sleep would be one of the easiest things that we could do. All we have to do is lie down, close our eyes, and breathe. But when you have eczema, you are lucky if that is all that you do while in bed.

Something that really needs to be stressed is the amount of itchiness that we can experience on a daily basis. One would be foolish to think that the magnitude of an itch that we experience is “normal” and that we’re just overreacting to it.

Eczema is like constant poison ivy

Imagine that you just came into contact with poison oak or poison ivy and then multiply that by one hundred at minimum. Try to get someone who’s been exposed to poison oak or poison ivy to not scratch. It is impossible; it is uncontrollable and compulsive. That is very much what eczema is just with more triggers than just poison oak and less of a concentration or exposure needed to instigate that agony.

Itchy sleepless nights

Back to the point of this article. In my early days with eczema, I would find that during the day I would not feel itchy at all and that at night I would want to rip off my skin from head to toe. I felt that during the day I could distract myself from the inflammation and the subsequent itching through my interactions with others and learning class lessons. But at night, I was left to my own devices and could feel everything without distraction which drove me crazy. It felt like having a million ants and spiders crawling over me endlessly for hours. On my face, neck, arms, legs and everything in between. I was lucky if I got a good night’s sleep.

Painful eczema flares

Not only that, but certain rashes would feel so sharp and deep it was as if I was rolling around on broken glass. If I move my body one millimeter in the wrong direction and it accidentally reopened a healing wound, it would feel like a knife cutting through me and often there were several of those sorts of wounds in various parts of my face and body. The worst would be the ones that were over joints like the inner elbows, back of my knees, creases of my neck or the inner/outer corners of my eyes.

Anxiety of nights with eczema

Sometimes I could barely open my eyes without reopening the wounds that had formed from scratching the corners of them. Or the corners of my mouth which would make it really hard to yawn or eat the next morning because I could barely stretch open my mouth wide enough to fit a spoon in. Despite starving, sometimes it was better than taking the chance at prolonging the healing of my wounds. And, of course, all of this pain would lead to me crying in defeat because all I could do was wait for my body to heal and for the wounds to scab over, and eventually peel off revealing new fresh, soft skin. But the waiting game and the anxiety of what may happen that night would paralyze me in fear of myself with myself.

Have you experienced pain while trying to go to sleep with eczema? What do you have to deal with when going to sleep?

Take our survey. Share what it is like for you living with atopic dermatitis and the complications that often accompany it by taking our survey.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

Poll