Nasal allergies caused by exposure to pollen affect as many as tens of millions of Americans.1 Allergies cause nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes as well as disturbed sleep for millions of people. Here’s a look at how allergies affect your sleep and what you can do to sleep better.
How Allergies Affect Your Sleep
When allergens are present, your immune system responds by releasing chemicals that create inflammation in your nose. This can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose. All of these symptoms narrow your nasal airways, making it difficult to breathe, especially when you’re lying down.2
Allergies can either affect you seasonally or chronically: allergens like pollen are the main culprit when it comes to seasonal allergies. But if your allergies flare year-round, then indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold, may be lurking inside your home. When either seasonal or indoor allergens enter your bedroom, getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging.3
Tips for Sleeping Better With Allergies
Allergy season is tough enough without adding sleep deprivation into the mix, so follow these tips below to get a good night’s sleep during allergy season.
- Shower before bed: When you’re outdoors, you collect pollen on your hair, skin, and clothes. Shower when you come indoors to keep it from spreading throughout your home and onto your bed.4 This will reduce the amount of pollen you’re exposed to during bedtime, which will help you breathe better. A hot shower before bed can also help open nasal cavities and help you decompress from the day.5
- Create a weekly and monthly cleaning schedule: In addition to the pollen you trek into your bedroom, dust mite allergens accumulate in your bedding, mattresses, and floors. You can minimize persistent exposure to these allergens by vacuuming regularly, changing your air filters monthly, and washing your sheets and blankets in hot water every week. Many pillows, even those made of feather and down, are also washable.5
- Close your windows and use a dehumidifier: Open windows allow pollen and other pollutants to enter and increase the level of humidity in your home. Close your windows and turn your air conditioner on to keep humidity levels down. Breathe easier by using a dehumidifier, which can also reduce the growth of mold spores.5
- Establish a routine to reduce stress: People with allergies who experience regular stress are more likely to have allergy flare-ups.6 Alleviate them by creating stress-free routines: go to bed and wake up at the same time, eat healthy meals, meditate, and exercise weekly. Doing so can help you sleep better throughout the night.6
- Prepare your nose and sinuses: At night, you might consider supplementing your allergy medicine with Breathe Right® nasal strips to help open your nasal passages while you sleep. This will help you sleep better so you’re good to go the next day.