backup og meta

Itchiness at Night: Possible Causes and Home Remedies

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Jan 30, 2023

Itchiness at Night: Possible Causes and Home Remedies

Itchiness at night doesn’t just cause discomfort and trouble sleeping, it’s also quite baffling. You end up thinking, why does my skin itch at night? Is it a sign of a serious condition?

Some people who have itchiness at night can’t go to sleep due to the discomfort; others get to sleep for a while, then wake up because they feel itchy. It’s true that itchiness can occur as the body regulates temperature, but it’s also possible that an underlying condition is causing the itch. 

What Causes Itchy Skin at Night?

Nocturnal pruritus can greatly disrupt sleep in both kids and adults. This condition can occur due to various reasons.

The Body’s Natural Mechanism: Your natural circadian rhythm or daily activities can affect numerous skin functions, such as temperature regulation and fluid balance. Changes in skin function usually cause increased temperature and blood flow, which then cause itchiness at night. 

Itching Due To Hormonal Changes: Your body may release certain substances depending on the time of day. In the evening, the body releases more cytokines, which promotes inflammation in the body. Furthermore, hormones that reduce inflammation, such as corticosteroids, decrease in the evening.

Dehydrated Skin At Night: One of the common causes of itchiness at night is skin dehydration. Come to think of it, cold weather tends to cause itching because it dries the skin

You Have Less Distractions At Night: It’s also possible that you’re itching throughout the day, but daytime work and activities serve as distractions. At night, there are fewer distractions, allowing you to notice the itch more. 

Health Conditions that Cause of Itchy Skin at Night

Besides the above mentioned causes, certain health conditions can also trigger itchiness at night. Some of these conditions include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Kidney and liver diseases
  • Anemia
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Thyroid problems
  • Cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma
  • Skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, and urticaria.
  • Allergies to substances, such as chemicals, drugs, foods, or cosmetics.
  • Psychological states, such as stress, depression, and schizophrenia.
  • Neurological disorders, like multiple sclerosis , shingles (zoster) and diabetes.
  • Diseases caused by germs or viruses, including scabies, lice, bed lice and pinworms.

How To Treat Itchiness at Night

If you experience mild itching at night and don’t suspect an underlying health condition, consider the following suggestions:

1. Treat Itchy Skin with Medicine

Consider buying over-the-counter medications to relieve itchiness. A pharmacist may recommend medicine for itching to help you sleep. Examples of medicines an expert might recommend are:

  • Steroid cream
  • Drug melatonin that regulates sleep
  • 1st Generation antihistamines, such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), diphenhydramine ( Benadryl ), hydroxyzine (Vistaril) and promethazine (Phenergan)
  • 2nd generation antihistamines, like fexofenadine (Allegra) or cetirizine ( Zyrtec )

2. Treat Itchiness at Night with Home Remedies

If you don’t want to take medication, you can try the following home remedies to relieve itching:

  • Take a warm bath.
  • Apply a cold compress to the itchy area. 
  • Apply an alcohol-free moisturizer during the day and before bed.
  • Use a humidifier to create a pleasant atmosphere to help you sleep better. 
  • Regularly clean the living space, particularly the bed, bed sheets, and pillowcases. 

If stress causes itchiness at night try meditation, yoga, or other relaxation exercises to calm your mind. You can also see a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) if home therapy doesn’t work.

Reminders on Nighttime Itchiness

If you experience itchy skin at night, here are a few things to keep in mind to alleviate the condition:

  1. Adjust the room temperature: If possible, keep room temperature at a cool level of about 15.6°C to 19.4°C. If not attainable, make sure that your room is well-ventilated. 
  2. Wear soft clothes: Choose clothes made from natural materials, like cotton or silk. Refrain from using fabrics that irritate the skin, such as lace.
  3. Limit stimulants: You should avoid having caffeine or alcoholic beverages before going to bed. These substances dilate blood vessels and cause increased blood flow and temperature.
  4. Read the ingredients of cosmetics carefully: Avoid using cosmetics, lotions, or soaps with fragrances or substances that can irritate the skin.
  5. Avoid scratching: Scratching can damage the skin, making the condition worse. Instead, consider cold compress, moisturizer, or a warm bath to relieve itching. Also, trim your nails regularly to limit skin damage when scratching.

Itchiness at night may not be too serious, but it can affect rest time. Therefore, seek early treatment. Some home remedies can be effective. However, if the itching does not improve within 2 weeks or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as weight loss, fatigue, and fever, see your doctor immediately. 

Learn more about Skin Health here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Jan 30, 2023

advertisement iconadvertisement

Was this article helpful?

advertisement iconadvertisement
advertisement iconadvertisement