8 Tips for Better Sleep During Allergy SeasonMarch 26, 2019
Seasonal allergies are never easy to deal with. The constant sneezing, sniffling, and coughing can be troublesome and annoying. Additionally, having itchy, watery eyes can be quite wearisome. And when you have difficulty breathing, you will have another thing to worry about as well.
Aside from taking allergy relief tablets to experience relief from their symptoms, people with allergies will look forward to nighttime. They expect that while they are asleep, they won’t be bothered by the different cumbersome symptoms.
Unfortunately, for many individuals suffering from seasonal or chronic allergies, they won’t get the relief they are looking for at night. They will have difficulties sleeping and may even develop sleep disorders including snoring and sleep apnea.
Why Allergy Symptoms Flare Up at Night
Allergy symptoms are typically worse at night due to the following factors:
- Pollen and mildew
If you leave your bedroom open the whole day, pollen will settle inside. In case you haven’t cleaned your room thoroughly in the past months, there may already be mold and mildew on the walls, ceiling, and other fixtures.
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These two allergens will trigger your allergic symptoms even if you have already fallen asleep.
- Dust mites
Old mattresses, pillows, and beddings are dust mite magnets. These insect-like pests are allergenic and can aggravate allergy symptoms.
- Animal dander
Pets that sleep on your bed always leave behind dander. Like dust mites, pet dander is a substance that can trigger allergy attacks.
When these triggers are in your bedroom, your nose can become congested, thus, making breathing through the nose difficult. You won’t get any respite from coughing since mucus drains from the nasal cavity into the throat at night.
These nighttime allergy symptoms, coupled with the usual ones that appear during the day, will prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. As a result, you will feel tired and sleepy the next day, unprepared to go through your activities and deal with your allergy.
Getting Better Sleep During Allergy Season
To minimize allergy attacks and get better sleep at night, follow these tips:
- Consult a specialist
If you haven’t seen an allergist or your general practitioner yet or it has been years since you went for a checkup, see him or her before allergy season even begins.
Your specialist will evaluate your condition and find out exactly what you are allergic to. Once you know your specific triggers, you will have a better idea of how you can avoid or minimize them.
Additionally, you will be prescribed a medicine that will provide relief to your symptoms. Your specialist may also recommend other treatment options, such as an allergy shot, to help you manage the symptoms better.
- Keep your bedroom allergen-free
Ensure your bedroom remains your sanctuary during allergy season and not a room you will be afraid of entering by following the tips below:
- Deep-clean your bedroom. If you see signs of mold and mildew, ask someone or hire a cleaner to remove them.
- Replace old pillows with new ones and wash sheets in hot water once a week. This will get rid of dust mites. You can also use plastic covers for your mattress and pillows to keep dust mites at bay.
- Always keep your windows closed, especially during allergy season. By doing so, you will prevent pollen from entering your bedroom. This will also help keep out nighttime dampness.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom. If you let them sleep with you, find another place for them inside or outside your home.
- Use a cool humidifier or air purifier in your bedroom. This will ensure the air you will be breathing in your room is clean. This, in turn, will help keep your nasal and airway passages moisturized, and prevent congestion and dryness which can aggravate cough and a blocked nose.
- Remove fabric curtains and upholstered furniture in your bedroom. If this is not an option, make sure they are cleaned regularly.
- Keep the temperature and humidity in your room at the right level
If you feel warm, use the air conditioner instead of opening the windows. However, keep the temperature below 77°F to prevent dust mites from breeding.
In case you live in a humid place, use a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. This will help keep dust mites at bay as well.
- Eat allergy-friendly foods for dinner
Certain foods and beverages can make your seasonal allergy worse. These include peanuts, chocolates, processed foods, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks. It would be best to avoid eating them when your allergy is acting up, especially at night.
And to help prevent your symptoms from flaring up at night and disturbing your sleep, try to eat more of these foods at dinner:
- Spicy foods (cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, etc.)
- Fresh vegetables
- Probiotic-rich foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, etc.)
- Clear broth
- Take a shower before going to sleep
To avoid bringing in more pollen into your bedroom, take a shower, and make sure to wash your hair before going to bed.
Rinse your nose and eyes with saline solution and wipe down your eyelids with baby wipes as well. This will ensure you won’t go to sleep with microscopic pollen.
Put the clothes you wear in the laundry basket immediately, which should be in the laundry room. If possible, run them through the washer so that you will get rid of pollen and other possible allergens from outdoors.
- Keep your head elevated
When sleeping, prop up your head on a pillow. This will help prevent some respiratory allergy symptoms at night.
If you sleep without using a pillow, your congestion will become worse since the mucus simply sits in your lungs or throat. This will then cause you several hours of irritation at night.
- Work out regularly
To get sounder sleep at night, try exercising every day. However, you don’t have to go to the gym every day for this. On the times you can’t, a 20 to 30-minute walk or run on the treadmill will do.
But make sure you don’t exercise at night since this may leave you feeling too energized to get sound sleep. It is best to exercise early in the morning. Try doing it under natural sunlight to get some vitamin D and to help set your body’s natural circadian rhythm for sleep at night.
Finally, stress can further aggravate your allergy symptoms. As such, try to forget your worries before you turning in. Before going to sleep, meditate, practice yoga or deep breathing to release stress. You can also try doing any activity that will help you de-stress and feel calmer such as listening to relaxing music or ambient sound on a low volume.
These tips will help you get better sleep even if you have different types of allergies. As such, take note of them to ensure you will find relief from your symptoms in your bedroom at night even when it’s allergy season.