National Eczema Society is funding an exciting new research study into the impact of sleep disturbance on children with eczema and their families. It’s known as the Supporting children and young people’s sLeep in those with EczEma Programme (SLEEP) study.

Many children experience disturbed sleep, especially when eczema is severe. Children can wake numerous times during the night, from the discomfort of itchy and painful skin. Sleep disturbance causes tiredness, which in turn affects children’s ability to concentrate, their mood and general well-being. The impact on parents caring for children with eczema can be profound too. For many, eczema starts before the age of two years and children can develop poor sleep habits early on that they take into later life.

Strategies to manage poor sleep in eczema usually focus on trying to alleviate the skin symptoms, rather than the sleep problem itself. Using surveys and focus groups, researchers will gather new information to better understand the problems caused by sleep disturbance. They will ask about the
sleep strategies children and their parents find effective, including medical treatments, nonmedical
approaches and behavioural changes.

The researchers will also ask healthcare professionals how they assess and help children and young people with eczema to manage poor sleep. The research findings will provide new evidence to help improve the ways children and young people with eczema are supported to sleep better, as well as informing future research in this field.

The project is being led by Dr Connor Broderick and Professor Carsten Flohr, from St John’s
Institute of Dermatology at Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital in London, working with colleagues at other universities and hospitals in the UK. The Society has collaborated with the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network – a group of leading dermatologists, dermatology nurses and researchers – to award this research grant. The British Society of Paediatric Dermatology is also providing a separate funding award, as part of the Network’s 2021 research call on paediatric dermatology.

Thanks again to all our members and other supporters who donated to make this important initiative possible.