"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Why do I itch more at night?

Lately I've been laying in bed every night scratching an itch I either didn't feel or didn't have throughout the day. What is going on? What can I do about it?

Oh You could also be experiencing a reasonably common problem called night itching. This crazy state will be triggered by quite a lot of things, including our own circadian rhythm, the body's natural 24-hour cycle. This change can trigger nighttime skin changes reminiscent of increased blood flow, a sense of heat, and lower levels of corticosteroids that will otherwise reduce inflammation (and itching).

Hormonal changes from menopause and pregnancy can even cause dry and itchy skin, which may feel worse at night. Other potential culprits include certain medications, reminiscent of antibiotics, blood pressure pills, opioids, and diuretics, or skincare products reminiscent of soaps, deodorants, or bug repellants.

Rarely, nighttime itching can signal a more serious health condition, reminiscent of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) or liver or kidney disease.

Try these strategies to scale back itching:

  • Change your bedding or pajamas to a softer, cotton-rich version.
  • Don't linger in the tub or shower, which may dry out the skin.
  • Apply a thick moisturizer to probably the most itchy areas.
  • Place a humidifier in your bedroom so as to add moisture to the air.

If none of those steps bring relief, seek advice from your doctor about next steps.

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