Allergies can affect many aspects of your life, from the discomfort of itchy, watery eyes to the difficulty of breathing through a stuffy nose. Not only do allergies cause problems during your workday, but they can also impact your nightly rest as well.
The symptoms of allergies, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, swollen airways and nasal congestion, can lead to abnormal breathing patterns, including mouth breathing and sleep apnea. Waking up periodically for coughing fits can also make it difficult to fall back asleep.
Breathing through the mouth while sleeping may be uncomfortable for some people and can result in a swollen throat and dry mouth upon waking. Itchy, watery eyes may swell during sleep and lead to sore, puffy eyes in the morning. Some people also have allergy-induced asthma, making the deep breathing of sleep difficult due to inflamed bronchial tubes.
In some cases, severe allergies may result in the sufferer developing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which you actually stop breathing in your sleep and awaken gasping for air. This is a medication condition that may require diagnosis and use of a breathing apparatus, called a CPAP, during sleep.
Allergies, whether it’s seasonal hay fever or year-round allergies to elements in your environment, can impact your ability to get a good night’s rest. Substances that can cause allergies are called allergens. There are four very common ones.
Breathing in these allergens during the night can trigger allergic reactions, making it difficult to relax, fall asleep and experience restful sleep.
Lack of sleep or poor sleep hygiene can have a cumulative effect on your overall health.
Changing the way you treat your allergies may benefit your quality of sleep. Always check with your doctor first before modifying your current medication plan to check for interactions or contraindications.
Your daily habits may be aggravating your allergies more than you realize, impacting your sleep and the overall quality of life. Make these changes to help improve your allergy symptoms and have more restful nights.
If you find yourself constantly dozing off during the day or if lack of sleep and allergy symptoms are impacting your work and daily life, you may need professional treatment. This can include a regimen of allergy shots or a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea. You may also want to undergo an allergen test to pinpoint specific substances so that you can avoid them in daily life.
While you may not be able to “cure” your allergies, there are several things you can do to reduce the effects they have on your sleep and your overall health. Talking symptoms over with a professional and making permanent lifestyle changes may improve your allergy symptoms and your sleep, giving you more energy and a clearer head.
© 2021 American Sleep Association.