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What can help a child with eczema sleep?

How to reduce sleep loss

If your child has eczema and has problems sleeping, dermatologists recommend the following.

Itchy skin, cranky baby

Itchy eczema can cause sleep loss. When eczema itches, it can keep a child awake or wake the child from a sound sleep.

Baby crying in crib. Itchy eczema can cause sleep loss.

  1. Work with a dermatologist to get your child’s eczema under control. Sleep loss occurs when eczema flares. Getting your child’s eczema under control can help your child sleep.
  2. When you see a dermatologist, be sure to tell the doctor that your child has trouble sleeping. Most, but not all, kids with eczema have sleep loss. A dermatologist can develop a treatment plan that addresses sleep loss.

    Your child’s dermatologist may recommend the following:

    Important note

    Sleepless nights can cause a child to be misdiagnosed with a behavioral problem or learning disability.

  3. Follow the treatment plan developed by your child’s dermatologist. In the beginning, all the information that you receive can seem overwhelming. The treatment plan can be time consuming.
  4. It’s important to realize that eczema can be a serious medical condition. Like other serious medical conditions, medication may be necessary to control symptoms, prevent worsening, and treat problems like infections.

    If you have any concerns, tell your child’s dermatologist.

  5. Take time to find your child’s triggers. After spending so much time bathing, moisturizing, and applying medicine to your child’s skin, it can be frustrating to see eczema flare.
  6. Many things in your child’s environment can cause eczema to flare. What causes one child’s eczema to flare may not cause another child’s eczema to flare. For this reason, it’s important to figure out what triggers your child’s eczema.

    Becoming overheated, wearing wool or another rough-feeling fabric, and using a skin care product with fragrance commonly trigger eczema.

    Triggers: What can cause eczema to flare?

    Learn what causes eczema to flare in this article.

    Learn more

    By controlling the eczema, you can help your child fall asleep and stay asleep. You may even get some sleep yourself.

Related AAD resources

Lewis-Jones S. “Quality of life and childhood atopic dermatitis: the misery of living with childhood eczema.” Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Aug;60(8):984-92.

Simpson EL, Eichenfield LF, et al. “Current issues in atopic comorbidities and preventing the atopic march.” Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2012 Sep;31(3 Suppl):S6-9.