Do allergies stop you from getting a good night’s sleep? If so, you’re not alone. Up to two-thirds of people with hay fever seldom get the sleep they desperately need thanks to their symptoms.
Though it’s common to have sleep problems, you should never put up with ongoing insomnia. Lack of sleep does more than make you tired during the day. It causes an array of health problems from weight gain and hormone imbalances to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Our experienced team at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut in Manchester and Middletown, Connecticut, can help you manage your allergies. With our help in keeping your nighttime symptoms under control, you’ll finally be able to sleep through the night.
Allergies that affect your sleep
Though any type of allergy could interfere with your sleep, airborne allergens that you breathe in are the primary culprits of nighttime allergy symptoms.
That includes allergies to:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
These allergies trigger nasal congestion that makes it hard to fall asleep, wakes you during the night, and rouses you too early in the morning.
As anyone who’s ever had a cold knows, the nasal congestion alone interferes with your sleep. But other allergy symptoms also contribute to the problem. A runny nose, sneezing, postnasal drip, and an itchy nose, mouth, or eyes can all sabotage your sleep.
There’s another problem you may encounter when your allergies cause a stuffy nose at night. The congestion affects the pressure in your upper airway, which blocks air flow and makes you briefly stop breathing. This condition, called sleep apnea, can happen frequently during the night.
Every time you stop breathing, your brain nudges you back to consciousness just enough to take a breath and resume breathing. You probably won’t know it happened, but it still disrupts your sleep.
Get a restful sleep despite allergies
When our patients tell us that allergies are ruining their sleep, we offer these tips:
Make your bedroom an allergen-free zone
Focus on keeping your bedroom free of allergens. Airborne allergens collect on bedding, under beds and dressers, and on curtains. Wash your bedding frequently using hot water, put allergy covers on your pillows and mattress, and routinely dust the furniture and vacuum the floor.
It also helps to eliminate certain fabrics because they harbor dust, pollen, and pet dander. If possible, get rid of carpeting and curtains and instead use hardwood flooring and blinds that are easy to clean.
Take your clothes off before you go into the bedroom to be sure you don’t carry outdoor allergens into the room. Allergens in your hair carry over to your pillow and trigger your symptoms. The best way to solve that problem is by showering every night.
And we’re sorry to say that if you’re allergic to pet dander, you should keep animals out of your bedroom.
Block outdoor allergens
Keep your bedroom window and door closed to minimize the amount of allergens that can float into your room. You can also reduce allergens in your bedroom and throughout your house by putting a HEPA filter on your heating and air conditioning ducts. If it’s in the budget, consider getting a portable air purifier.
Revisit your allergy treatment
Changing the type of allergy medication you take or the time you take it may improve your sleep. For example, try taking a dose of medication at night so that it works while you sleep.
If you currently use an over-the-counter antihistamine and you still struggle with sleep problems, talk with us about prescription medications. We can help you find more effective options.
When you still have trouble sleeping despite these efforts, it may be time to consider allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy. Both treatments give you regular doses of your allergen. Over time, your immune system becomes desensitized, and you stop having allergic reactions.
You don’t need to let allergies ruin your sleep when help is available from us at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut. Call the nearest office or request an appointment online today.