Sleep difficulties and their management in preschoolers with atopic eczema


  • This work was based presented at the IVth Congress of the European Society for Paediatric Dermatology, Bournemouth, 2–4 June 1993.

Peter Reid, Department Paediatrics, Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, Clwyd LL13 7FD, North Wales, UK.


Sleep disruption is known to be common in preschool children. Those with atopic eczema (AE) would seem to heat particular risk because of itching. In this preliminary survey parents confirmed clinical impressions that sleep loss is a common feature when a child's atopic eczema is flaring. Sleep disturbance was reported by parents for 86% of the relevant nights with an average of 2.7 wakings per night and an average parental sleep loss of 2.6 h per night. Parents used a common core of strategies to help their children sleep at these times. Some of the strategies employed are likely to perpetuate sleep disturbance beyond the time of the flare. Parents gained most benefit from their own idiosyncratic approaches. For the majority of children (59%) sleep disruption is limited to times when their AE is flaring.