How Allergies Affect Your Sleep
Seasonal changes are the worst nightmare for people with allergies. Whether it’s autumn giving way to winter, or spring changing to summer, there are potential allergens in the air all through the year. While those who know about their allergies are better able to deal with changing seasons, the worst sufferers are those who have no idea if it’s allergies that keep them awake at night and uncomfortable through the day.
Although seasonal allergies (also called allergic rhinitis) aren’t a serious problem, they can lead to several problems in any season. Allergies can make sleeping difficult because nasal passages swell and become clogged, leading to breathing problems, snoring, and dry mouth and throat. Such sleep troubles can lead to sleepiness and fatigue during the day, affecting productivity and efficiency, and also leading to more serious problems like a foggy memory and disorientation.
It was found in a study that nearly half of the people who suffer from seasonal allergies complain of troubled sleep because of excessive sneezing and wheezing and breathing difficulty. Because allergies usually don’t have a long term cure, most people just suffer in silence. Allergic rhinitis can either be seasonal or perennial. If it’s seasonally, it’s usually caused by dust particles in the air, as well as mold, ragweed, and pollen. When seasonal allergies occur throughout the year, they are usually caused by indoor substances like pet fur and dander, indoor mold, and dust in the carpet, bedding, and mattress.
Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are aggravated by allergic rhinitis. Being unable to sleep night after night leads to chronic insomnia, foggy memory, disorientation, loss of productivity, and cardiac ailments. Allergic rhinitis doesn’t just affect adults; it also affects children and interferes with restful sleep.
Instead of suffering in silence, there are simple solutions to reduce the symptoms and promote better sleep. Some of the solutions are:
- Use a nasal rinse/spray before going to bed. A nasal spray gets rid of the congestion in the nasal passages and helps you breathe easy, promoting better rest and sleep.
- Keep windows closed, especially on windy days. This prevents the dust and other allergens from entering the house. If possible, also keep windows shut when going to bed.
- If you use an air-conditioner, make sure to change the filter or clean them periodically. When the filter is left unattended for a long time, allergy-causing dust can accumulate and spread in the room when the air conditioner is turned on.
- Don’t wear outside clothes to bed because dust and pollen that cling to them can transfer over to the bedding. This can trigger allergies and interfere with sleep.
- Try turning off the humidifier to stop the air from getting too moist. Moisture leads to the growth of bacteria and allergies, and a moist room can trigger allergic rhinitis.
Allergies can pose a severe problem to sleep, but with a few easy solutions it can be managed and kept under control. If allergies are persistent, consult a doctor for a medical solution.