Tips to Breathe Easier and Sleep Soundly
- Allergy season brings more than just sniffles and coughs for those affected. It can also cause difficulty falling and staying asleep.
- Allergies affect from 20 to 50 percent of Americans and occur when pollen or other allergens, such as pet dander or dust, irritate and inflame the nasal passages, causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
- When the nasal and airway passages become congested, airflow is restricted. This restriction of airflow can cause snoring and problems breathing while sleeping, also known as obstructive sleep apnea.
in the air, bringing warmer days, sunshine and flowers along with it. It sounds
nice, but for allergy-sufferers, it can be a nightmare - if you’re lucky enough
to fall asleep.
brings more than just sniffles and coughs for those affected. It can also cause
difficulty falling and staying asleep.
both seasonal and perennial allergies bring nasal congestion, it can often
cause problems when trying to sleep,” says Anthony Rooklin, M.D., co-chief of
the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
to WebMD, allergies affect from 20 to 50 percent of Americans and occur when
pollen or other allergens, such as pet dander or dust, irritate and inflame the
nasal passages, causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.
are three basic allergy problems that occur in the spring,” says Thomas Klein,
M.D., chief of the Section of Allergy and Immunology at Delaware County
Memorial Hospital. “They are allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and
asthma. Allergic rhinitis causes nose congestion and mucus, allergic
conjunctivitis causes eye irritation, and asthma causes chest congestion and
shortness of breath. Outdoor pollen and indoor dust mites are among the most
common allergy-triggers during this time of the year.”
When the nasal and airway passages become congested,
airflow is restricted. This restriction of airflow can cause snoring and
problems breathing while sleeping, also known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea can cause a cycle of normal breathing, followed by loud
snorts or choking sounds. The cycle repeats itself throughout the night,
causing sufferers to feel tired in the morning due to the lack of a
“Because it can be difficult to avoid most springtime
allergy triggers outdoors, like pollen, allergy-suffers can take certain
precautions to avoid them indoors — especially in the bedroom,” Rooklin says.
“If you are allergic to dust mites, you can cover the mattress and pillows with
dust mite-impermeable covers. It’s also good to wash linens in hot water, not
cold or warm. To reduce pollen entering the home, close the windows and turn on
the air conditioner in your bedroom. Also, turn off the ceiling fans, avoid
drying clothes on the line outside, and wash your hair before going to bed if
you’ve been outdoors for a long period of time.”
There are a variety of medications that can be taken to
avoid congestion caused by allergies, like antihistamines combined with a
decongestant. Also, intranasal steroids, intranasal antihistamines, and allergy
shots can be given.
“If your allergies continue to affect your sleep pattern,
and over-the-counter allergy medications and preventative measures are not
helping, you should see a doctor,” Klein says. “It’s important to talk to your
doctor or an allergy specialist to develop a treatment plan that best suites
you. It’s possible for allergy-sufferers to live symptom-free!”
To find a Crozer-Keystone allergist who’s right for you
and to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258). For a
referral to one of the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers (DCMH, Taylor Hospital or
Crozer Health Pavilion), call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703) or visit