Allergies and Sleep Problems

Allergic rhinitis (AR) is the official term for when baddies in the air get to us and wreak allergies upon us. These baddies can come in the form of  dust mites, pollen, molds and pet dander.

Often, when these allergens are airborne environmentally, there’s not much we can do except to take allergy medicines to combat them. When it comes to dust miles and pet dander, a lot of that is under our control, however. We can clean our homes — and beds — better, and we can keep pets out of our sleeping areas (unless we’re old softies, of course).

How do allergies affect our sleeping? A study presented to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded: “All dimensions of sleep were impaired by AR, particularly by the severe type. Sleep was significantly more impaired in patients with severe AR than in those with the mild type.”

And as we’ve mentioned here on many an occasion, sleep problems (leading to deprivation) can have debilitating effects on our daily lives, causing fatigue, lack of focus, inability to learn and remember, and even depression.

Allergies can have even worse effects on those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) but can affect all of us on the snoring front. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), “Nasal congestion, which causes the upper airway to narrow, increases the risk of both snoring and OSA among allergic rhinitis patients.”

Though many people think allergies are only seasonal, this is not always the case, as dust mites and pet dander, among other causative factors, can be year-round problems.

How do you know if you’re suffering from an allergy? The symptoms are coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, watery eyes, sore throat and headache, though all symptoms may not be present at the same time.

Fortunately, there are allergy medications that can control the symptoms and help you sleep at night. If you’re suffering from allergies and over-the-counter medications aren’t doing the trick for you, it’s time to seek out your family doctor for more powerful solutions.

Bottom line: Don’t let allergies affect your sleep or your daily performance. Get help when needed.

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