Spring is always a pleasant time, but seasonal allergy sufferers might be concerned about how it affects their sleep. It’s a good thing! The study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people suffering from hay fever or other allergies have trouble sleeping. They are twice as likely to have sleep disorders such as insomnia than those who don’t have allergies.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies are caused by pollen (abundant during spring) and other allergens like house dust and pet hair irritating the nasal passages. It can cause symptoms like sneezing and runny noses, as well as watery eyes and sneezing. This condition affects approximately 50% of Americans.
Up to 30% of Americans are affected by insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders.
What Can Cause Allergies to get Worse?
For various reasons, allergy symptoms tend to worsen at night. Allergies can cause nasal passage swelling, which makes breathing more difficult. Overnight, cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone, drops to its lowest level. This results in a higher level of inflammation in the nose, and lungs. Gravity can play in your sleep, causing congestion to shift and making breathing more difficult. Dust mites and pets are more prevalent at night, which can increase allergy symptoms. Histamine, which is involved in the regulation and maintenance of sleep, can worsen allergy symptoms.
It’s clear that breathing through your mouth can cause dryness or irritation. A runny nose or postnasal drip can lead to a cough. Snoring can be caused by interrupted breathing or sleep apnea. When we don’t breathe properly, it’s more likely that we will get headaches. These things can also disrupt our sleep.
It is no surprise that people who have severe allergies experience more difficulty sleeping and getting to sleep. Even if they do get to sleep, allergy sufferers report feeling tired throughout the day. Many allergy sufferers report that their symptoms like sneezing or sniffling disrupt their partner’s sleeping patterns.
What can you do?
What can we do to get a good night of sleep during allergy season?
Bedrooms for better sleep
- Technology should not be used in the bedroom.
- Make sure the bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool
- To prevent allergens from coming in from the breeze, keep bedroom windows shut.
- Make sure to inspect your heating and air conditioning units. Check that your filters are clean.
- Regularly change your pillows and sheets. For your linens, use natural fabrics and natural cleaners.
- To protect yourself against dust mites, use plastic pillows and mattress covers to keep your pillow and mattress from being exposed at night. Consider buying a new mattress if your bed is older than 7 years. Pillows should always be changed every six months and not kept for more than two years. When you lie down, make sure your pillow covers the space between your head & shoulders.
- Pet allergies? Keep your pets away from the bed and, if possible, out of the bedroom.
- Regularly vacuum carpets and furniture. Some vacuums have an allergy filter. Keep your wood or tile floors clean of pet hair and dust.
- A humidifier can be used to add moisture to the air. To prevent mold growth, make sure that the water is changed often.
A More Natural Route
- To help you breathe easier, take a steam bath
- Before you go to bed, shower. This is a good way to get rid of any pollen and other allergens that may have been on your skin during the day.
- Enjoy a cup of hot tea (herbal, not caffeinated) Hot water with lemon or herbal tea to loosen congestion. Avoid caffeine later in the day.
- Use a nasal saline rinse. This will reduce swelling and wash out any pollen. For allergies, nasal decongestant sprays should not be used for more than three days. This can cause the nose to become more sensitive.
- ” Unplug” you from electronic devices and computers an hour before going to bed.
Talk to your doctor if your allergies prevent you from getting the rest that is necessary for your health and well-being.