When you have eczema there is nothing worse than not being able to sleep.
More than 30% of the general population suffers from insomnia and that percentage is much high in people with eczema.
I remember the crazy night time itch, the insomnia... wishing my brain could just switch off for a moment. Even my soft 100% cotton sheets annoyed my sensitive skin. But there are ways to calm the mind and the itch at the same time.
I no longer suffer from eczema but I would like to share some of the tips (and the supplement) that got me through the hard times.
According to research, Magnesium deficiency triggers an inflammatory response and is associated with inflammatory stress in adults with insomnia.(Nielsen 2010)
Magnesium helps to promote deep, restorative sleep because it is a natural muscle relaxer that helps to calm feelings of stress. It's also an anti-inflammatory mineral that can be low in people with eczema.
Calcium deficiency can cause insomnia so taking calcium should be at the top of your to-do list if you have sleep issues.
Calcium deficiency is common and it's essential that people with eczema consume calcium daily as it also helps to thicken the skin barrier.(Elias 2002)
Eczema is associated with dysfunctional filaggrin (a gene), and this dysfunction makes the skin barrier weak and your skin very dry. According to research, filaggrin needs a calcium-dependent enzyme in order to form correctly.(Lee 2016) So people with eczema really should be taking calcium as a part of their skin care routine.
Eczema is also associated with osteoporosis and increased risk of bone fractures.(Garg 2015) So taking at least 300mg of calcium (plus eating calcium rich foods) is important. Note that calcium NEEDS magnesium to be absorbed into your bones so if you have magnesium deficiency, you have calcium deficiency, so it's vital to take these two nutrients together.
Researchers found that Glycine increases non-REM sleep and serotonin levels and it reduces night-time wakeful states in subjects with insomnia.(Bannai, 2012)
Skin Friend nutritionist Katie Layland shares with us 6 delicious eczema-friendly recipes using Skin Friend PM, which contains magnesium, calcium and glycine, plus a relaxing bath recipe.
Here is Katie's advice...
All recipes make 1 serve
This makes a wonderful night-time cuppa as carob powder triggers feelings of satiety which helps to promote sleep, along with relaxing magnesium, calcium and glycine from Skin Friend PM. This recipe is from The Eczema Detox by Karen Fischer:
- 1 heaped teaspoon of carob powder (roasted is better, but any will do)
- 1 teaspoon of brown rice syrup (optional)
- 1-3 scoops of Skin Friend PM (refer to bottle for your dosage)
- 1/4 cup boiled water
- 1 cup plant-based milk of choice (I like rice milk, Karen likes organic oat milk, note oat milk contains gluten)
Place the carob powder and boiling water into a mug and mix until lump free. Heat the milk in a saucepan until warm then mix together all of the ingredients.
The PM smoothie recipe is simple, tasty, and an easy way to enjoy calcium in a healthy afternoon snack.
- 1 cup of oat milk or another plant-based milk of choice
- 1/2 large banana or 1 peeled pear (diced and pre-frozen)
- 1/2 cup ice
- 1-3 scoops of Skin Friend PM (refer to dosages)
Place ingredients into a high-speed blender or NutriBullet and blend until smooth.
I love this recipe for those on the go, shake up all the ingredients in a mason jar and take with you. The inclusion of carob powder provides additional calcium, antioxidants and a gentle fibre to help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- 1 cup of oat milk or another dairy-free milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon of carob powder
- 1-3 scoops of Skin Friend PM
Shake ingredients in a mason jar with the lid on, until well mixed.
A tasty and healthy Nutella spread alternative which focuses on healthy ingredients such as raw cashews, which offer a generous dose of magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
- 1 cup of raw cashew nuts
- 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup or brown rice syrup
- 2 tablespoons roasted carob powder
- 2-3 tablespoons of plant-based milk such as rice milk
- 1/8 teaspoon of good quality sea salt such as Celtic sea salt
Add cashew nuts to a food processor and blend on high until cashew butter becomes smooth. For additional information on how to make the perfect cashew butter, you can find the full recipe here.
Once the cashew butter is done, add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and continue blending for another 30 seconds or until mixture is well mixed.
Keep in an airtight jar. Once a day, mix 2 tablespoons of Carob Nutella with 1-2 scoops of Skin Friend PM. You can spread it onto toast, sweet potato toast, on celery sticks or crackers.
Beets are high in folate and manganese and they are a great source of phytonutrients which provide fantastic detoxification and anti-inflammatory support.
1 large beetroot (peeled and diced)
1 large pear or red delicious apple (peeled, cored and diced)
3 large celery sticks (washed and sliced)
1-3 scoops Skin Friend PM
Juice ingredients, then add into a glass with your dose of Skin Friend PM and stir well.
Sleepy-Time Banana Latte
This banana tea contains 3 nutrients (
magnesium, potassium and tryptophan), which have shown to help improve sleep and relax the muscles. When adding the Skin Friend PM, this drink offers additional sleeping benefits and it's a lovely way to finish the day.
1/2 organic banana (peeled)
1/2 cup of filtered water
3/4 cup of plant-based milk such as rice milk or oat milk
1-3 scoops of Skin Friend PM (refer to packet for dosage)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or Nutribullet until smooth. Pour mixture into a small pot and place on medium heat. Bring the mixture to a soft simmer, stirring occasionally. Once lightly simmering, pour into a mug and enjoy.
You can also help to promote a good night's sleep by taking a relaxing bath before bed. Avoid using electronics, such as your phone or iPad, as they can cause insomnia, and instead, opt for a good book or music. Keep the bath short and if you feel overtired, that's the time to hop out as you don't want to fall asleep here! This is what you need for a great eczema-friendly bath:
Relaxing Bath Recipe
If you have eczema, ensure your bath water is lukewarm, not hot, as this will make it more soothing and relaxing. Mix in the ingredients and soak for about 10 minutes. Rinse your skin if needed.
Karen Fischer's eczema books and Skin Friend additive-free supplements for skin health and wellbeing can be found here.
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Nielsen, F.H., Johnson, L.K. and Zeng, H., 2010. Magnesium supplementation improves indicators of low magnesium status and inflammatory stress in adults older than 51 years with poor quality sleep.
Lee, T. and Friedman, A., 2016. Skin barrier health: regulation and repair of the stratum corneum and the role of over-the-counter skin care. J Drugs Dermatol, 15(9), pp.1047-1051.
Elias, P.M., Brown, B.E., Crumrine, D., Feingold, K.R. and Ahn, S.K., 2002. Origin of the epidermal calcium gradient: regulation by barrier status and role of active vs passive mechanisms. Journal of investigative dermatology, 119(6), pp.1269-1274.
Garg, N.K. and Silverberg, J.I., 2015. Eczema is associated with osteoporosis and fractures in adults: a US population-based study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 135(4), pp.1085-1087.
Bannai, M. and Kawai, N., 2012. New therapeutic strategy for amino acid medicine: glycine improves the quality of sleep. Journal of pharmacological sciences, 118(2), pp.145-148.