You try to ignore it, but it only gets worse and worse until you can't help but scratch. But why is it that bug bites always seem to itch more at night when you're trying to get some shut-eye?
Why It Happens
- You're focused on the itch. When you're trying to sleep, all you can focus on is the itchiness of the bite. And the more you focus on it, the worse it feels. The harder you try not to scratch it, the more irresistible it becomes.
- The bite is in a sensitive spot. Bugs tend to go for exposed skin, which means they often bite us in places that are particularly sensitive, like our hands, feet, neck, or face. And when those sensitive areas are also itching, it can be torture trying to fall asleep.
- You're relaxed and your blood flow has increased. When we lie down to sleep at night, our muscles relax and our blood flow increases. This increase in blood flow carries histamines (the chemicals that cause itching) to the affected area and makes the itch even worse. So basically, when we're trying to sleep is when our bodies are working against us in the battle against itchiness.
- You're sweating more at night. Nighttime is also when we tend to sweat the most (thanks mainly to increased body temperature and hormonal changes), and sweat can make bug bites even itchier. So if you're already dealing with an itch from a bug bite, tossing and turning in sweaty sheets isn't going to help matters any.
The next time you find yourself scratching a bug bite at 2 am, at least you can take some small comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your sleeplessness!
So, What Can You Do About It?
If you do get bitten, resist the urge to scratch. This will only make the bite more irritated and increase your risk of infection. Instead, try applying a cold compress or taking an antihistamine to help relieve the itchiness.
While there is no surefire way to prevent mosquito bites, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk.
Use Insect Repellent and Cover Up When Needed.
Insect repellent is always a good idea when you're spending time outdoors, but it's especially important when you're hammock camping.
You should also consider dressing in long sleeves, pants, and a hat which will help keep bugs from finding their way onto your skin.
Pitch Your Hammock or Tent Away from Bug-Infested Areas
When you're hammock camping, one of the best ways to avoid being bothered by bugs is to pitch your hammock in an area that isn't infested with them. If you're unsure whether an area is bug-infested, there are a few things you can look for:
• Mosquito larvae in standing water
• Clusters of insects
• Insects flying around your head or landing on you
If you see any of these things, it's best to move to another location. Pitching your hammock in an area devoid of bugs will help ensure that you have a peaceful, bite-free experience.
Bring Along a Bug Net.
If you're hammock camping, a bug net will allow you to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about being swarmed by insects. Just be sure to choose a bug net that's specifically designed for hammocks—with a bug net, you can relax and enjoy your hammock campout without any unwanted visitors!
We have had a bit of experience with mosquitoes having camped often in warm wet climates. We have shared some of the other products we recommend in our blog. With a little bit of preparation, you can make mosquito season a little less miserable and actually enjoy all the benefits of camping.