Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a group of symptoms affecting the nose that causes irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages. Common allergens include pollen, mold, dust mites, or pet dander. For people with allergies, coming into contact with allergens triggers the release of a chemical in the body causing sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and nasal congestion. Allergies can cause poor sleep and result in significant daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Allergies may be ongoing or occur seasonally. Seasonal allergies are usually caused by airborne particles from grass, trees, outdoor mold or ragweed. Year-round allergic rhinitis results from allergens such as indoor mold, pet dander, and dust mites in mattresses, bedding, or carpeting.
Allergies and Sleep Disorders
Sleep disturbances are common for people who suffer from allergies. Research has shown that sleep is significantly impaired by allergies depending on the severity of the symptoms. Sleep problems can cause daytime sleepiness, decreased productivity, impaired learning and memory, depression, and a reduced quality of life.
Allergies are associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) a sleep disorder in which breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. Research suggests that having allergies is a major risk factor for snoring and OSA. These problems are associated with lower productivity and even severe brain damage. Parents should pay attention to their child’s sleep if they have allergies to monitor if they might have OSA, as well.
Because there is a high rate of sleep disorders and health complications for allergy patients, it is important to get adequate sleep in order to maintain physical and mental health, as well as high productivity, safety, and overall well-being.
Treatment for Allergies
Symptoms caused by dust mites can be alleviated by frequently washing sheets and blankets in hot water. Exposure to dust mites can be minimized by using special covering on pillows, mattresses and box springs.
Tips for Coping with Allergies and Sleep Disorders
- Try to stay inside on days with high pollen or ragweed counts
- Close windows and use air conditioning to prevent pollen and allergens from entering
- Use a dehumidifier to prevent mold spores from accumulating
- Keep pets well groomed and do not sleep in the same room with them
- Vacuum frequently
- Change air filters every month
Allow enough time for sleep, as sleep deprivation can impact your overall health and prevent your body from defending itself against allergens which cause your symptoms. Before bedtime, try taking a hot shower in order to relax, open the nasal passages, and wash away any lingering allergens from the hair or skin.
For more information about asthma treatment and how it can improve your sleep quality, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563.