Every human can state that mosquito bites itch more at night. But why? First of all, mosquito bite itches because the saliva of a mosquito is a foreign particle to the human body. The white blood cells reach there and release Histamine which causes inflammation and itching.
Apart from hormones, factors like species of mosquitoes, favourable conditions and the activeness and focus of mind at night cause more itching at night. It is advisable to avoid mosquitoes and prevent their bites by the use of repellants, and nets and by covering the body with full clothes. Mosquito bites can cause diseases as well. So, it is better to be safe.
Why do mosquito bites itch more at night?
Why do mosquito bites itch more at night? Is a valid question and not just your imagination. Phew! Right? There are several factors that contribute to this theory and when they are combined it may seem more likely that it is true.
Firstly, let us find out why mosquito bites cause itching. When mosquitoes bite the skin with their mouthpiece (also known as proboscis), they release some saliva when drawing your blood. Their saliva contains proteins and anticoagulants. Since these substances are foreign to our body, they trigger the immune system to release histamine, which helps white blood cells get to the affected area. Histamine is a compound that causes swelling, inflammation, and itching.
Now that we know what actually causes the bites to itch, we narrow down a few factors listed below to help understand why it feels like mosquito bites itch more at night:
- Anti-inflammatory hormones – For most people, mosquito bites itch more at night than during the day simply because at night our cortisol levels (our body’s own anti-inflammatory hormones) are lower during the night. Human reflexes are also down at night as we are drowsy and sleepy. The cortisol levels are higher during the day, hence the response time is faster.
- Species of mosquitoes – Everyone knows that insects and bugs are different species-wise. Certain species feed at different times. Diurnal feeders are known to feed during the day and crepuscular feeders feed during evening hours and early morning. Each individual will have a different response to the anticoagulants released by different species of mosquitoes during feeding.
- Favorable conditions – The concentration of carbon dioxide released in the air is higher at night. This helps mosquitoes attach their mouthpiece easily, leading to potentially more bites and repeated bites at night. Mosquitoes are also safer during the night from exposure to predators. Also, the favorable atmosphere heightens their ability to better access scents and lactic acids. Additionally, warm temperatures at night help provide metabolic energy that helps them better digest their meal.
- The mind is less occupied at night – Another factor to consider is that our minds are usually occupied with work or other chores during the daytime and we may not be bothered much with mosquitoes than say during the night when you have less on your mind. Since our bodies are at rest during the night, our minds are active and focus on the itching.
When you are asleep you may not realize the extent of mosquito bites until you wake up the next morning. Hence, it is advisable to take precautionary measures to curb access to mosquitoes in your home and bedroom. Here are a few tips you can use:
- Repellents – Mosquito repellents come in different forms such as liquid form, sprays, creams, etc, and can be effective in getting rid of them. Sometimes if you use the same repellent for a longer duration, mosquitoes may tend to get immune and they may not be as effective. Hence switching to a different brand every now and then helps throw them off their scent, in a manner of speaking.
- Netting – Covering your bed with mosquito nets is a common occurrence in a majority of households where mosquitoes are a nuisance. Additionally, covering your balconies and windows too helps you get the benefit of the cool night air without the mosquitoes.
- Clothes – Wearing full sleeves and long pants during the night helps. You can also wear socks too, to ensure that 90 per cent of your body is covered and protected. Most of us cover our faces too with the blanket while sleeping. Now that’s complete protection.
As we have learned that a lot of factors contribute to the idea that mosquito bites actually do itch more at night. Now we know why. Taking appropriate precautions to stop the spread of mosquitoes can go a long way in reducing mosquito bites and the related skin infections and diseases that may come with it. Having good knowledge of mosquitoes, their breeding process, and how to get rid of them helps. After reading this article you may get a bit conscious about the lingering mosquitoes tonight.
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