Can Allergies Cause Sleep Issues? | Sleep Issues | Treatment

Allergies And Sleep Issues

Spring and summertime bring about the growth of grass, flowers, and vegetation all around. This means the start of the allergy season for a massive chunk of the population. Termed as allergy rhinitis, seasonal allergies cause the person to sneeze repeatedly, cough, and have itchy and watery eyes.

These signs don’t take place only when the person is awake. Allergies actively continue well into the night, when one is sleeping. Allergies could end up keeping one sleepless, leading to a decline in the quality of their lifestyle.

Most Common Allergens

To help with sleep, the person would need to get rid of their allergy source, otherwise known as allergens. They could be one of the top 4 causes of allergies, that are:

Pollen:

Pollen is tiny enough to make their way into the human body, and potentially into the lungs. The foreign particle is perceived as an intruder by the immune system, leading to the defense mechanism kicking up and causing allergy symptoms. Pollen allergy is one of the most common types during summertime.

Dust Mites:

Dust could itself be an allergen, but if there’s dust, there would be dust mites too. Unfortunately, dust mites prefer residing in the covers, pillows, and surface of the bed, where all of the dead skin cells get collected. These tiny mites thrive in warm conditions, and cannot be perceived by normal vision.

Mold:

The immune system reacts to the mold spores found in the mold patches. The symptoms are very similar to that of hay fever. Mold could grow on food, wood, damp clothes, and walls exposed to moisture in extremely humid temperatures.

Pet Dander:

Pet dander refers to the dead skin cells of the pets living in your home. This also includes small particles of their fur and whiskers. Asthma patients and people having a family history of pet dander allergy are more prone to be weak to this allergen.

Sleep Issues

Allergies are notorious for the symptoms they cause. They are akin to those caused by the flu or common colds. It includes sneezing, a runny nose, puffed and itchy eyes, and coughing. Depending on how the body reacts to the allergen, the effects could range in their severity. They could also result in the allergic person tossing and turning in bed and could make breathing difficult.

Over time, these would give rise to complications akin to insomnia. Fatigue, headaches, loss of concentration, a weakened immune system, and a potential threat to heart health could arise from losing sleep. Sacrificing the body’s chance to rest-up due to allergies should be immediately solved.

Tips for a Better Sleep

There are easy and practical ways to ensure that the bedroom is free of factors that would trigger the allergies. Following this checklist would promise a good night’s sleep without waking up feeling suffocated, or with a blocked nose:

Clean up the House:

Thorough vacuuming of the house is a must. Windows should be kept shut as much as possible, especially during summers. A sound ventilation system that comes equipped with air conditioners would ensure that clean air is always provided. Some of these systems come with air purifiers too.

Bedding:

The bed becomes a breeding ground for dust and dust mites. Changing and washing bed and pillow covers regularly should be taken up as a regular hygiene practice, if not for protection against allergies.

Once washed, they should be thoroughly dried off. Extra care can be taken by adding in a mattress protector or encasement. In the long-run, it is recommended to change the pillows and even the mattresses, if possible.

Shower before Sleep:

Wash away the day’s dust with a shower taken right before bedtime. A deep clean of the body would do away with pollen that might have snuck into the hair or attached itself to the skin. A steam shower would also help to unclog a runny and stuffed nose.

Clothing:

Allergy season calls for frequent changing of clothing, especially if the person spends most of their day outdoors. The entire set should be changed at least twice a day, while the worn ones should get a good scrubbing to do away with the allergens they were exposed to. Avoid bringing in outdoor clothes within the bedroom.

Chemical Scents:

Air-fresheners seem like a good idea to mask the air trapped indoors with a soothing scent. However, they could be the reason behind a year-round allergy for susceptible people. The particles contained in fresheners are an easy trigger for sneezing.

Choosing aroma oils and diffusers is suggested. Scented laundry detergents or fabric softeners can have the same effect as air-fresheners. Using scent-free or organic laundry soap for clothes is a much better option.

Bedroom Interiors:

Designing the bedroom to be allergen-free might be a long reach, but it is an extra effort to safeguard sleep. For example, carpeting the bedroom floor is a no-go. Carpets serve as a collection spot for almost every type of allergen. A hardwood floor could replace a carpeted one.

Blinds or roll-up shades should be considered over curtains. Furniture wood should always be the waterproof and resilient kind, to avoid wood dust and termites. The walls should also be sealed off entirely from moisture, to discourage mold growth.

Treatment

Medication prescribed for allergies should always be taken on time. Rescheduling the consumption right before climbing onto bed could be done as well. Here are some drugs and treatments that could reduce symptoms and provide a good sleep cycle:

Antihistamines:

These aid in drying up a runny nose and postnasal drip. They should only be taken for short periods, as long-term use might cause serious side effects. This drug is sold under the trade name Benadryl.

Saline Nasal Flushes:

Congestion can be relieved by using a Neti pot. The tools let the user pour in a solution from one nostril to be drained out by the other. The results might not last long, but there are no side effects involved.

Nasal Decongestant

They come in the form of pills, sprays, and nose drops. Long-lasting relief and liberty from a stuffed nose could be achieved with their use. Since it is made up of certain strong chemicals, taking them for more than 3 days in a row is not advisable.  

Some practices are not wholly related to allergies but would promise sound sleep for allergic people. Two of them are listed below:

  1. Sleep deprivation may lead allergic persons to consume caffeine. While it provides temporary boosts of energy during the day, they should not be consumed within 6 to 8 hours of bedtime.
  2. Tiring out the body through physical activities could prevent allergy symptoms from frequently triggering throughout the night.

Conclusion

Sleep issues caused due to allergies can be eliminated by following proactive measures coupled with allergy medication. A physician should be consulted if allergies get out of hand and severely deprive the individual of sleep.