Tips for Better Sleep
Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last updated: September 2022
Poor sleep is common for people with chronic hives. Some have trouble falling asleep, while others have trouble staying asleep. Itchiness often gets worse at night and can prevent you from falling or staying asleep. This can lead to fatigue and poor functioning during the day.
Many people have a poor quality of sleep. Sleep disruption is actually more common among people with chronic hives than people with heart disease. And sleep disorders are the most common mental health problem among people with chronic hives.1,2,3
The good news is that many treatments for chronic hives may help improve your sleep. And, developing healthy sleep habits can help you improve the quality and quantity of your rest.
Control hives for better sleep
The best way to prevent chronic hives from causing sleep problems is to control nighttime symptoms. Treatments that reduce hives and itchiness seem to also improve sleep. For example, studies have shown that omalizumab (Xolair®) improves sleep quality.1
Talk to your doctor about how chronic hives affect your sleep. They may be able to adjust your treatment schedule to reduce nighttime symptoms. They may also be able to offer suggestions for things that have helped others with your condition.
Practice good sleep habits
Your daily behaviors have a major impact on your sleep. This includes your diet, exercise, stress levels, routines, and evening activities.
You may not be able to control all of the factors that interfere with your sleep. However, you can adopt sleep habits that improve your sleep. This is often called “sleep hygiene.” Some good sleep habits include:6-8
- Go to bed at the same time every night and early enough to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep
- Wake up at the same time every morning
- Go to bed only when you are sleepy
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and comfortable
- Remove electronic devices from the bedroom
- Avoid large, heavy meals and alcohol before bedtime
- Control your caffeine intake
- Avoid looking at electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before bedtime
- Limit daytime naps
- Get enough exercise during the day
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Reduce nighttime itching by keeping nails trimmed or wearing gloves
Talk to your doctor about using the supplement melatonin. If your doctor supports this, you may want to temporarily try melatonin to improve your sleep. Most people can safely take melatonin nightly for 1 to 2 months. After that, it is a good idea to stop taking it and see how well you sleep.9
Managing stress is also an important way to improve your sleep. Stress can come from worry about your health, extra tasks related to your hives, and the stigma that may come from other people who do not understand. This can interfere with your sleep. Ways to manage or reduce stress levels include:6
- Practicing yoga or meditation
- Writing in a journal before bedtime
- Organizing your day and setting goals and priorities
- Talking to a therapist or counselor about managing stress