What Causes Itching at Night?

Nighttime itching may interfere with a person's ability to sleep.
Bug bites may cause itching at night.
Menopausal women may experience itching at night.
Laundry detergents used on sheets and pajamas may cause itchiness at night.
Taking a hot shower before bedtime may cause dry, itchy skin.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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When itching sets in at night, it can become more than a mere annoyance. It can also interfere with a person’s ability to sleep. There are many things that may cause itching at night; they range from serious health conditions to insect bites. Interestingly, there are some types of itching that only affect a person at night. Others, however, may be present all of the time, but only become noticeable when a person tries to lie down and rest.

In some cases, medical conditions or bodily changes cause nighttime itching. For example, a person may have itching that develops as a symptom of liver disease, kidney disease, or even cancer; sometimes itchy skin even develops because of the dry skin related to menopause. In many cases, health-related itching may be present during the day, but a person may be less likely to notice it if he is busy. Once he attempts to rest at night, however, he may find the itching more noticeable. As far as itching during menopause is concerned, it may become more of a problem at night, when a woman is less likely to drink fluids.

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In some cases, night-time itching occurs because of an irritant that has contact with the skin before bedtime or at bedtime. For example, a person may take a hot shower or bath before bed. In such a case, the hot water may dry the skin and cause itching. Using a harsh soap when bathing before bed may have the same effect. Likewise, a person may itch at night because the detergents he uses to wash his sheets, blankets, and pajamas irritate his skin.

Allergies and insect bites may cause itching anytime, including at night. Like some health conditions, they may cause itching throughout the day, but an individual may notice the discomfort more at night. Additionally, something as simple as a fan that raises the hair on a person’s arm can cause itching at night.

In some cases, a person may itch at night because something is crawling on him. For example, he may have lice or crabs and notice the itching they cause more at night when he is lying still. Likewise, a person could experience this itching because of the bites of bed bugs or fleas.

While many causes of nighttime itching are physical in nature, a person may also have this problem because of mental stress. During the day, he may be too busy to spend time focusing on things that concern him. At night, however, he may focus on worrisome thoughts and experience stress-related itching as a result.

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anon962977
Post 5

I live in Thailand. Consequently, I rely on A/C to keep cool indoors. When the fan blows directly on to my body, my skin itches on the exposed areas. I have no rash/spots - obvious signs of skin problems - so I must conclude it's the moving air which possibly stimulates the hairs on my skin. Hope this helps with other similar complaints.

anon948738
Post 4

Pruritis simply means you are itchy. it doesn't mean that you've caught it from anyone and it doesn't mean you are contagious. Just like you could be blind, bleeding or dead, pruritis means you have a symptom - itchiness - it doesn't explain why you have it.

anon946813
Post 3

I have had itching for four years. Recently I have started taking Omega 3 only capsules and cutting back on Omega 6 and 9 in food. Cooking oil is high in Omega 6 so now using olive oil.

My skin is a lot better and I am not buying lots of creams. I am now also sleeping at night. It has taken a couple of months for the cracked flaky skin to disappear but it is not coming back. Modern foods are high in Omega 6 and it is causing an imbalance in your body. Articles are on the web about it.

anon355262
Post 2

I get itching most nights and it has gone on for literally a year and a half. I've tried changing my sheets, changing laundry detergent, every cream I can think of. The only thing offering some relief has been oil. I don't know why it happens at night time. At a certain time of night, it's like a timer goes off and boom -- itchy!

anon305675
Post 1

I have severe itching at night, and it is driving me crazy. Please help. I was told I have pruritis. What is that from and who did I come in contact with, was my question. Am I contagious? Please again, can you give me some answers?

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