At This Time Of Year Hay Fever Symptoms Are At An All Time High But Dont Let That Stop You From Resting Easy
After the dark, cold days of winter, we’re now enjoying long days, light nights and warmer temperatures. However, for around 16 million people in the UK alone, this more positive time of year is marred by the onset of hay fever symptoms.
From itchy eyes and sneezing to a runny nose, allergies can be an irritating and debilitating annual event. Not only that, but the discomfort allergy sufferers deal with doesn’t just impact waking hours – it can also disrupt your sleep, so much so that the Sleep Foundation reports that those with allergies are twice as likely to have insomnia as those without.
But how exactly does hay fever impact our sleep, and what can you do to get your sleep health back on track?
Summer Allergies Are No Picnic When It Comes To Getting Good Sleep
It’s a cruel summer for people with allergies. After a spring filled with fragrant blooms and the sniffling and sneezing that goes with them, you may find yourself still suffering with irritated eyes, a scratchy throat and a stuffy nose.
During springtime, tree pollen is a common allergen. In summer, grass pollen and ragweed emerge to further plague allergy victims. And the hot, dry air of the season tends to carry more pollen than cool, damp days. Adding to the misery, some allergens aren’t seasonal at all. For example, dust mites and pet dander can trigger year-round sneezing.
Seasonal or not, allergies can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns.
While there’s no way to completely avoid the pollen and other irritants outside, there are ways to reduce your exposure indoors – specifically, in the bedroom. Here is some useful information that will help you take a summer vacation from allergy symptoms, so you can get a better night’s rest.
What are allergies, anyway?
Allergy problems – or to use the Latin term, allergic rhinitis – arise when people breathe air containing allergens. Allergens are typically harmless substances that cause the immune system in some people to release chemicals called histamines. In turn, these histamines create inflammation that leads to symptoms like watery eyes, congestion and sneezing.
How do allergies harm sleep?
What can you do?
Which Allergy Medications Can Help Nighttime Allergy Symptoms
Two types of allergy medications may help nighttime allergies. “Antihistamines may help with sneezing and postnasal drip,” Berger says, while decongestant medications help with the stuffiness and nasal congestion.”
But Berger also suggests that a better approach to treating allergies might be the inhaled nasal steroids and intranasal antihistamines. “These inhaled nasal puffs and sprays address all four allergy symptoms of sneezing, itching, runny nose and mucus formation, and nasal congestion and swelling of the mucous membranes.”
If you try the inhaled nasal steroids, Berger advises taking these two weeks before pollen season begins to prevent allergy symptoms. You may plan on staying on inhaled nasal steroids for months, if needed, to keep allergies at bay and avoid sleep deprivation.
If you’re allergic to your pet, Berger suggests seeing an allergist before you consider giving away the family dog or cat.
“Many things can trigger symptoms of allergies such as nasal congestion, even nonallergic rhinitis caused by changes in temperature or weather. See an allergist to find out if you truly have allergies before making drastic changes at home.”
Sleepy Time Tips To Decrease Allergies And Sleep Deprivation
During the deepest level of sleep, your body is revitalized and tissue damage is repaired. Sleep helps restore the body and strengthens the immune system. Yet difficulty sleeping may accentuate your allergy symptoms, making a congested nose feel even worse.
To get sounder sleep, it takes a combination of steps, including nasal saline irrigation, allergy medicine, and lifestyle measures, says Murray Grossan, MD, a Los Angeles-based ENT and author of The Sinus Cure. Grossan offers these tips:
- Check your medications, as some allergy medicines can cause insomnia or nervousness. The ingredients and side effects are listed on the medication label.
- Consider taking an antihistamine like diphenhydramine at night. It causes drowsiness in many people.
- Get regular exercise for sounder sleep, but don’t exercise at night as it may keep you keyed up. Try to exercise outside during the early morning hours to gain the extra benefit of natural sunlight. This helps to set your body’s natural circadian rhythm for regular sleep.
- Keep the windows closed in the bedroom to keep out pollen and nighttime dampness.
- Raise the head of your bed a few inches. The higher the head, the less the nasal congestion with allergies.
How To Sleep Better With Allergies: 10 Tips For Getting Shut
Allergy season is back with a vengeance which means sleepless nights and uncomfortable days for those battling streaming eyes and noses.
Those with allergic rhinitis are significantly more likely to face sleep issues, from having trouble falling and staying asleep, to poor sleep quality and insomnia. And unsurprisingly perhaps, the worse your allergy symptoms are, the worse your sleep is, according to the Sleep Foundation.
But a crap night’s sleep doesn’t have to be inevitable – even if your allergies are playing up. The key to a better night’s kip is keeping allergens at bay – or at the very least, minimising your exposure to them.
How To Manage Hay Fever When You’re Outdoors More Than Usual
6. Avoid drying clothes on radiators in the bedroom. “Drying clothes indoors involves releasing a very surprising amount of moisture into the air,” says Artis. “This can add to, or cause, mould problems.”
7. If you can, take your mattress outside for a good airing and then replace it upside-down and the opposite way around to its previous positioning. Avoid airing your mattress when the pollen count is too high, though – tree pollen tends to peak in the early afternoon, while grass tends to be worse in the morning before 11am and again in the late afternoon and early evening from about 4.30pm.
8. While the mattress is gone, clean the base of your bed with a soft brush to remove fluff and dust – if you have to use a vacuum cleaner do so very carefully and with the window open.
9. While the bed is moved out from any walls, vacuum thoroughly underneath and around the bed, as this area can yield huge amounts of dust and fluff.
10. If you’ve got really bad pollen allergies, consider investing in an air purifying fan. Keep an eye out for ones with small-particle or HEPA filters to keep the air clean.
Tip #1: Maintaining Your Mattress For Optimum Sleep Hygiene
When it comes to optimizing your bedroom, your bed is a great place to start. Though it’s common knowledge you need to wash your bedsheets pretty regularly, what’s less known is that even the best mattresses require some thorough maintenance. If you aren’t vigilant about how often you clean and maintain your bed, you’re likely to experience more rather than fewer allergy symptoms.
Whether you have a memory foam mattress or more traditional spring, over the years your bed can trap varying amounts of external debris, such as dust mites, pet dander, and yes, even pollen, which can in turn cause a reaction and lead to trouble sleeping.
If you own a memory foam mattress that is older than eight years, you’ll need to replace it. You’ll also need to clean your memory foam mattress at least twice a year to ensure you’re keeping it as hygienic as possible, though for those who suffer from allergies, it’s recommended you bump this up to as much as once every quarter.
Every bed has it’s own particular requirements when it comes to clean up – memory foam mattresses for instance can’t be cleaned with water. In this case, it tends to be easier to use a damp cloth and vacuum for memory foam mattresses.
The should, it goes without saying, be naturally hypoallergenic for your convenience. The best mattresses for allergy sufferers will also be engineered with ease of maintenance in mind, though if you want to invest in additional tools, such as mattress protectors, this will only help.
Tip #3: Finding A Calming Nighttime Routine To Sleep Better
If you are looking to sleep better, you’ll want to assess your sleep hygiene patterns overall. Stress can actually contribute to a worsening of allergies, according to research, so ensuring you’re getting into bed feeling relaxed and primed for a good night’s sleep is essential.
There are plenty of calming practices that might better prepare you for a good night’s sleep. These include meditation, a little nighttime yoga, or putting other rituals right before bedtime into place, such as a warm shower or hot cup of tea before bedtime. Some allergy medication might have active components that disrupt your body clock, so remember to ask your pharmacist if you do plan on taking anything to help with your sleep.
Different rituals work for different people, so remember that your first couple of attempts to sleep better is going to be a process of trial and error. Eucalyptus oil has had particular success with those who suffer from allergies, so choosing to lightly mist your memory foam mattress with the scent or using scented candles can also help.
Finding a way to sleep better when you have allergies can feel difficult – from learning how to clean your memory foam mattress to keeping your cuddly pets out your bedroom, it definitely takes a little time and practice to get these habits feeling normal. Once you do have these systems in place, however, your trouble sleeping will soon be a fact of the past. Hello springtime, goodbye sniffles.
How To Stop Allergies From Affecting Your Sleep Patterns
The first step to stopping allergies from affecting your sleep patterns is to make sure that you are adhering to good sleep hygiene practices in the first place.
Healthy sleep hygiene practices are:
- Getting between 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
- Abstaining from alcohol and caffeinated beverages in the hours leading up to bedtime
- Discontinue use of all electronics at least 2 hours before bed
- Make sure you have a comfortable sleep environment that’s cool, quiet, and dark.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
- Maintain a balanced diet
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day
- Engage in relaxation breathing at least 20 to 30 minutes before bed
If you participate in healthy sleep hygiene practices and, yet, are still plagued by allergies that keep you from maintaining regular sleep patterns, here are some more methods that you can try:
Now that you have some helpful tips for how to stop allergies from disturbing your sleep, be sure to utilize these methods. If you have further questions or concerns about how your allergies are affecting your sleep hygiene, be sure to speak with Dr. Mayank Shukla as soon as possible.
What Kind Of Sleep Disturbances Can Come From Allergies
- Increased risk for sleep apnea
- Poor sleep efficiency
- Short sleep
During the day, their problems don’t end. They’re more likely to have trouble waking up, experience daytime fatigue, and have morning headaches and sinus pain.
There also appears to be a correlation between the severity of a person’s allergies and the severity of their sleep problems. In other words, the worse their allergy symptoms are, the worse their sleep is.
For some people with allergies, difficulty sleeping may develop into more serious sleep disturbances, such as bedwetting, insomnia, restless sleep, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea , and other forms of sleep-disordered breathing. The connection between allergies causing or worsening sleep apnea is of particular concern because we know that OSA can lead to difficulty losing weight, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and death.
Pediatric studies suggest that allergies increases the risk for obstructive sleep apnea among children . Children with sleep-disordered breathing are more than twice as likely to have allergic rhinitis than those who don’t have sleep apnea. Poor sleep can be especially damaging to children, leading to missed school days, behavioral problems, difficulty with memory, concentration and worsened IQ.
What Bedding Materials Are The Most Asthma Friendly
Hypoallergenic bedding is often recommended for those with asthma and allergies. But what does hypoallergenic mean? This type of bedding is typically resistant to common allergens like mold, mildew, and dust mites. The fabric is often tightly woven so that it is a less conducive environment for dust mites. While this type of bedding does not completely eliminate allergens, it reduces the prevalence of them.
Sheets and pillowcases that resist mold and mildew are breathable and moisture-wicking. This prevents moisture from building up in the bedding. Natural materials like cotton, bamboo, eucalyptus, and silk are ideal for allergy and asthma sufferers. Try to avoid bedding that has been treated with harsh chemicals.
When looking for a comforter or duvet, natural materials are more asthma friendly than synthetic. Since it is important to wash your bedding regularly to prevent the buildup of allergens, look for sheets, pillowcases, and duvets that are easy to clean. Comforters are harder to wash regularly, given their size. A duvet cover and insert may be a better choice, as the cover can be removed and washed more often.
For pillows, many have found that natural and organic filled pillows are best. Cotton and latex are especially breathable. As we’ve mentioned with mattresses, memory foam is also resistant to dust mites and other allergens. This makes it a good choice for pillows, too.
Daytime Effects Of Sinus & Allergy Induced Insomnia
Sinus and allergy issues can both lead to difficulty sleeping, which has serious side effects on a person’s life during the day. Without restful sleep during the night the body is unable to recharge and recuperate. While in the short term this isn’t always a problem, having insomnia or sleeping issues for an extended time can negatively affect everything in your daily life from your energy and motivation, to your mental and physical health.
Your body relies on the hours of being shut down to convert calories into energy and refresh the brain. When allergies or sinusitis get in the way of good sleep, you can wind up feeling stressed, flustered, foggy and exhausted. It can be harder to get things done and to enjoy the usual activities because your mind isn’t processing at full capacity. You may not even realize that lack of quality sleep is the underlying reason for stress or tension in your life and body. Being continually stressed or tense as a result of poor sleep can lead to serious health risks like high blood pressure.
How Do You Find Out What’s Causing Your Allergies
Enright suggests that you become an allergen “sleuth” to find out which allergens are causing your symptoms. If your allergies only happen at nighttime, perhaps you are allergic to something in your bedroom.
The most common allergens in bedrooms are microscopic house dust mites which live in bedding.
If the humidity in your bedroom is above 40%, molds may be growing in the carpet, bedding, and upholstered furniture.
If there is a smoker in your home, your nose and sinuses are probably becoming congested due to your inhaling secondhand smoke at night. A HEPA room air purifier running in your bedroom will remove the smoke. If you are unsure about the cause of your allergy symptoms, get a skin test or a blood test to identify the allergens that cause your problems.
What’s The Link Between Allergies And Sleep Apnea
If you feel sleep deprived, it may be that your nasal allergies cause you to snore at night. In addition to snoring interrupting your sleep, sometimes snoring is a warning sign of the more serious problem of obstructive sleep apnea .
The sleep test will give your doctor information about oxygen drops associated with obstructive sleep apnea or other breathing problems.
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor will talk to you about weight loss and nightly use of CPAP, continuous airway pressure. With CPAP, you wear a custom-fitted nasal mask during sleep that’s connected to the continuous airway pressure machine. The continuous airway pressure helps prevent further narrowing or collapse of your airway, so you can get the sleep you need to feel rested.
Get The Sleep You Deserve All Allergy Season Long
While allergy season and tree pollen season can make sleeping very difficult, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things that you can do to lessen the severity of your reactions to these allergens. Taking small steps to keep your home and your bedding clean and avoiding other stimulants that can make symptoms worse, can go a long way in helping you get better sleep and helping you stay more comfortable while you rest. Keep these tips in mind and they can help you get the sleep you deserve all allergy season long.
Lisa Czachowski is a professional social blogger and has worked on several online publications including Citrus Sleep. Lisa is an experienced content writer and copyeditor. You will find many of her works throughout CitrusSleep.com that cover a wide array of subjects including sustainability, natural, sleep products, health, fashion and many more. She is passionate about what providing as much information as possible on products you bring in your home and what we wear.
Follow Lisa at Lisa Czachowski
Smart Strategies For Better Sleep With Allergies
Respiratory allergy symptoms can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Discover simple tactics that can make a big difference.
If you are one of the millions of people with respiratory allergies, getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult, to say the least.
“Respiratory allergies cause symptoms like nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, and itchy nose and eyes, and can be particularly bothersome at night,” explains Neeta Ogden, MD, an allergist in private practice in Englewood, New Jersey, and an American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology spokesperson. “In addition, untreated or severe allergies can lead to blocked sinuses, sinusitis, and even snoring. All of the symptoms can cause night-time awakenings and disturbed sleep.”
Dr. Ogden and others suggest that getting a better night’s sleep when you have allergies starts by:
Seeking treatment. The best way to get a good night’s sleep if you have allergies is to get treated, says Flavia Cecilia Lega Hoyte, MD, an allergist and an immunologist and assistant professor at National Jewish Health in Denver. “Start by seeking an evaluation with an allergist to find out exactly what you’re allergic to and what options are available,” she says. There are many treatments that can curb allergies, including allergy shots, she adds.
Keep the humidity in your home at less than 50 percent with a dehumidifier or air conditioner, the ACAAI advises, because dust mites can survive all year in a warm and humid home.
Talk To Your Sleep Specialist And/or Sleep Coach
Even if you follow these tips and make the necessary changes, sleep problems may still persist. If you’re struggling with insomnia, snoring, or stop breathing while you sleep, consult your doctor. You may require a sleep test to potentially identify more serious sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea .
While nighttime allergy symptoms do not always accompany OSA, a home sleep test can help you determine whether your symptoms will require more treatment than what can be done in the home.
Don’t let your allergies keep you up at night. There are easy steps you can take to ensure that your symptoms are under control so you can breathe easily. But if your seasonal allergies continue to affect your ability to sleep, contact us today to schedule an assessment of your symptoms.
Sublett, J.L. Effectiveness of Air Filters and Air Cleaners in Allergic Respiratory Diseases: A Review of the Recent Literature. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 11, 395 .
Is Allergy Immunology In Buffalo Ny Right For Me
Allergies shouldn’t detract from your quality of life. If your allergies make it difficult for you to spend any time outdoors, it may be time for you to invest in immunotherapy.
More and more patients are opting for allergy immunology in Buffalo, NY, not only because it’s more convenient, but because it might actually be safer. Allergy shots don’t introduce anything foreign to your body.
Your allergen, though a trigger, is a perfectly natural and completely harmless substance. While your body identifies it as foreign, the allergen won’t actually hurt you in any way. Allergy medication, on the other hand, is not a natural substance. Many choose to go through allergy immunology because they want to reduce their long-term usage of allergy drugs.
Sleeping With Sinus Issues & Allergies In Denver
Getting good sleep is essential. When sinus issues and allergies cause difficulty sleeping, your health and daily life suffer. Our sinus and allergy experts will get to the bottom of your sleeping troubles, so you can get back to quality sleep with no disturbances.
Know When Its Time For A New Mattress Or Pillows
Maybe it’s time to replace your mattress during allergy season
Many people don’t realize that their issues with allergies may due to their pillows or mattresses. If you haven’t replaced your pillow or mattress in some time, then it may be time for you to replace your mattress and your pillows.
Your mattress and your pillow are both very absorbent and are made with materials that can hold in mold, bacteria, dander and other allergens. These things may be living in your mattress and making your allergy symptoms worse. So, if you have tried all of these approaches to lessening your allergy symptoms and still aren’t finding success, then consider getting a new pillow or mattress. As you shop for a new organic mattress, make sure to look for one that is made out of organic materials and one that is naturally hypoallergenic—meaning it can help you in the long term with your allergy issues.
How Are Allergies Linked With Sleep Deprivation
So what’s the problem with allergies and how are they linked to sleep deprivation? WebMD asked William E. Berger, MD, MBA, professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine, to explain more about allergies and the resulting sleep deprivation. Berger is past president of the American College of Allergy and Immunology and author of Allergies and Asthma for Dummies.
“With nasal allergies, there are four things that happen when an allergic reaction occurs,” says Berger. “There’s sneezing, itching, runny nose and mucus formation, and then nasal congestion and swelling of the mucous membranes.”
As an example, as soon as you crawl in bed prepared to get a good night’s sleep, you realize that you can’t breathe through your nose. So, you position yourself differently on the pillows and just as you get comfortable and find a good breathing position, postnasal drip starts to collect in the back of your throat, causing you to cough — and cough. The more you cough and try to breathe through your congested nose, the more miserable you feel.
Thus, all night long, you toss and turn and cough and snore instead of sleeping. The next day, you awaken feeling exhausted and irritable because your allergies have wreaked havoc with normal sleep.