How Can I Calm My Allergies at Night?
Allergies are certainly annoying during the day, but they can be even more disruptive at night when they stop you from getting the rest you need. Nighttime allergies are caused by the same triggers as day-time allergies but may feel worse at night. You’re not imagining it. There are a few reasons why they crop up at night, including the simple act of lying down. The good news is that there are some practical ways to calm your allergies at night.
Causes of Nighttime Allergies
Nighttime allergies can be triggered by a variety of irritants, including dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold. Allergens like these can cause respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can worsen at night due to several factors. Allergens inhaled during the day may build up in the air overnight and trigger an allergic reaction when breathed in again. Additionally, lying down flat causes the nasal passages to narrow and makes it harder for allergens to escape–leading to an increase in mucus production that further exacerbates allergy symptoms. Sleeping in a warm environment makes people more likely to experience nighttime allergies since warmer temperatures promote the growth of mold spores and dust mites.
Symptoms of Nighttime Allergies
Nighttime allergies can cause a range of symptoms, including a runny or stuffy nose, nasal congestion, and a sore throat. People with nighttime allergies may have difficulty sleeping due to the discomfort caused by their symptoms.
A runny nose is caused by inflammation of the nasal passages. This can result in an excessive amount of mucus draining from the nose, often accompanied by sneezing and a tickling sensation in the throat. Allergic reactions are usually accompanied by clear mucus, while colds tend to cause thick mucus with a yellow or greenish tinge. A stuffy nose caused by the inflammation of the nasal passages can result in a sensation of pressure in the face, difficulty breathing through the nose, and an inability to smell or taste.
Nasal congestion occurs when the nasal passages become inflamed and swollen, resulting in difficulty breathing through the nose. A sore throat can be a very uncomfortable and irritating symptom of nighttime allergies. It is usually caused by inflammation in the throat due to infection or irritation.
Common Allergens That Trigger Nighttime Allergies
Nighttime allergies can be caused by various allergens, especially pet dander and dust mites. Pet dander consists of tiny particles of skin, fur, and saliva shed by cats and dogs, which are easily spread through the air. Dust mites are microscopic arthropods found in many homes, often in bedding and carpets. These allergens can trigger respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.
Tips for Managing Your Nighttime Allergy Symptoms
Managing your nighttime allergy symptoms depends on what type of allergy you have. In general, though, be sure and do the following to reduce symptoms of nighttime allergies:
- Vacuum carpets and furniture regularly to remove dust mites and other allergens.
- Wash bedding in hot water at least once a week to kill dust mites.
- Use air filters in your home to reduce pollen particles in the air.
- Limit contact with pets or keep them out of the bedroom entirely to reduce pet dander exposure.
- Keep windows closed during peak pollen hours.
- Fix any leaks or sources of moisture in your home that can lead to mold growth.
Another great tip provided by the Jacksonville Sleep Center is to clean your ceiling fan. Ceiling fans often collect and hold a thick layer of dust. When you turn it on to sleep at night, the dust spins around and spreads throughout the room, worsening your nighttime allergies.
Adjusting your sleeping position can also help alleviate nighttime allergies. Try sleeping on your side to promote nasal breathing and filter out allergens. Sleeping on your back with your head elevated can also encourage nasal breathing and has the added benefit of gravity to help reduce congestion. If these measures do not help reduce your allergy symptoms, consult with your doctor for further evaluation and treatment options.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Alleviate Nighttime Allergies
Lifestyle changes can be beneficial in helping to alleviate nighttime allergies. Reducing stress levels can help reduce the severity of allergy symptoms, as stress can worsen inflammation. Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption is also recommended, as it can irritate the throat and lungs and lead to worsened symptoms. Taking a shower before bedtime is another simple step to take to remove allergens from your skin and hair.
If lifestyle changes are not enough to help alleviate your nighttime allergies, then it may be necessary to seek more specialized treatments, such as medications or immunotherapy with an allergist. Regardless of the treatment path taken, it is important to remain consistent with managing your allergies to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Treatment Options for Nighttime Allergies
Nighttime allergies can be a nuisance and disrupt your sleep. Treatments available to help reduce symptoms and improve nighttime comfort include:
Medications and OTC Solutions
Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and nasal sprays can help relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and itchy eyes. If these medications are not effective enough, then a doctor may prescribe stronger medications or a combination of medications to help control symptoms.
Air Purifiers for Allergies
Using an air purifier in the bedroom can help reduce the level of allergens present in the air by trapping particles such as dust mites and pet dander. HEPA filters are recommended for maximum efficiency while other filters such as activated carbon or UV light may also provide some relief from airborne allergens.
Nasal sprays work to clear out mucus from the nasal passages, which helps with breathing during sleep. These sprays should not be used more than three days in a row as overuse can lead to side effects such as sore throat or nosebleeds.
Allergy shots are another option for people who suffer from seasonal allergies or recurrent allergic reactions to certain allergens like pollen or pet dander. After receiving several doses over time, these shots can greatly reduce allergy symptoms in the long term.
Seasonal TreatmentsFor those who suffer mainly from seasonal allergies like hay fever, avoid being outdoors during peak pollen times and use preventive measures such as wearing sunglasses when outside.