What Causes Morning Itch & How to Get Rid of it?

It is a common practice for many people to first get up in the morning and scratch their buttocks or head. There are no particular reasons as to why this happens. It may just be out of habit, but there are certain medical reasons as well which may lead to Morning Itch. It may be that the urge to itch was not noticed when you were asleep and hence as soon as you wake up you feel the urgent need to itch resulting in Morning Itch.

Whatever may be the cause Morning Itch is not an abnormal thing to do and many people do it just out of habit, although if this habit of Morning Itch becomes significant and you are not able to do away with it, then it is a matter of concern and a cause of it needs to be investigated and treated.

One question that arises in the mind what is it that really causes one to scratch first thing in the morning after waking up. An individual usually scratches an area when he or she feels sort of itchy feeling and a sense that something is not right with the area. The sensation of itching from receptors responsible for causing a sensation of itch, which may get triggered due to a presence of a foreign object that it perceives as a threat to the body such as the sensation of a mosquito bite, which causes a sudden urge to itch the site where the mosquito has bitten.

Hence scratching is actually a defense mechanism of the body to ease off the discomfort caused by an external agent, although itching may also be caused due to certain reactions to certain medications, or medical conditions like contact or atopic dermatitis. The article gives a brief overview as to what causes Morning Itch.

What Causes Morning Itch?

What Causes Morning Itch?

When we sleep, the sensors in our body also take a rest and hence small or minor sensations of pain and something like an itch does not cause us to wake up and scratch the area or in some cases we may get a sensation of itching while sleeping and even scratch the area, but it does not affect our sleep in anyway. While these types of itching is a common occurring and everyone at some point or the other goes through morning itch, it becomes a problem when it occurs so significantly and for long periods of time such that it may become an embarrassment to you in front of your family members, then a cause of it needs to be determined. Some of the possible causes for Morning Itch are:

Personal Hygiene: This is one of the most common causes of Morning Itch. Dust, sweat, dead skin cells, and bacteria are something, which one cannot avoid and their presence is always there on the skin. If they are present in small numbers then they may not pose a problem, but the problem arises when there are significantly high numbers of dead cells, duct, and bacteria present on the skin. This can only occur when an individual does not practice good hygiene like not bathing and cleaning the skin with soap and water daily. Bad hygiene can also lead to a skin condition caused as Irritant Contact Dermatitis. Sleeping on dirty linen and bed sheets, which has dust and other bacteria in it may also result in Morning Itch.

House Dust Mite: These are tiny organisms that thrive in human environment. They are mostly found in mattresses and couches. They feed on dead skin cells of humans and therefore, they thrive on beds as this is where humans shed most of their dead cells. The dropping of these dust mites lead to what we call as Morning Itch.

Bed Bugs: This is yet another cause of Morning Itch. They may not be as common as dust mites, but still they are equally potent to cause allergies and something like a Morning Itch. They usually thrive on mattresses in beds and hence they get their name. They feed on human body, especially if the body is unhygienic. Hence, it is important to clean the bed and mattress everyday after you wake up to get rid of such bugs.

Contact Dermatitis: This condition occurs when the skin comes in contact with certain substances that tend to trigger an allergic reaction which tends to cause Morning Itch. This is seen more in people who are in the chemical industry who are exposed to various type of chemicals and even though they are appropriately protected still sometimes some chemicals seeps in to come in contact with the skin, especially of the hands. If the hands are not properly cleaned after work then this may result in contact dermatitis, which causes Morning Itch. Sweat is yet another cause for contact dermatitis causing Morning Itch.

Atopic Dermatitis: This type of dermatitis is mainly seen in children. It is also known by the name of eczema. This results due to a hypersensitive immune system. This may occur in combination with allergic rhinitis. In this condition, the skin gets abnormally dry, cracking, and swollen resulting in Morning Itch.

Psoriasis: This is a medical condition which tends to cause constant itching and Morning Itch is no exception. This itching tends to get worse when the body is exposed to heat or hot water. This itching tends to calm down when the individual is asleep, but gets activated again when the individual gets up resulting in Morning Itch.

Psychologic Causes of Morning Itch: Some individuals may not have any conditions present, but may still tend to have Morning Itch. This could be due to reflex reaction or out of habit. This is termed as psychogenic cause of Morning Itch. Anxiety or nervousness may increase the intensity of itching. When asleep the mind of the individual is diverted from the itching and hence sleep is not disturbed, but when waking up the desire to itch starts again resulting in Morning Itch.

Medication: Certain medications are also responsible for Morning Itch. If an individual is on a medication that is used to reduce itching like histamines, then that may even cause worsening of Morning Itch when its effects wears off. Taking the next dose of the medication again may ease off the itching.

How to Get Rid of Morning Itch?

If Morning Itch is caused due to psychologic reasons or out of habit, then telling your mind to not to scratch for a few days and holding the urge to itch may help get rid of the problem. Morning Itch caused due to other skin conditions may need to be treated by a dermatologist. Apart from that certain changes in lifestyle may help you get rid of Morning Itch. These changes are:

  • Try and take a shower before bedtime as it gets rid of any dead skin, sweat, or bacteria that may be present on the skin. Just a light shower is good enough to get rid of Morning Itch.
  • Always use a skin moisturizer to keep Morning Itch at bay.
  • Try and maintain a cool temperature throughout, so that the body remains cool and comfortable and prevents sweating which is a common reason for Morning Itch.
  • Clean and change the linen every alternate day to prevent any dust mites or bed bugs, which could be causing you to have Morning Itch.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 20, 2018

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