Allergies got your sleep?

Do you love spring, but dread the allergies that come with the trees, flowers and grasses? You are not alone! According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 50 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis (better known as hay fever). Allergies can be a problem at any time of year, but spring is typically the worst season.

The sneezing, itchy watery eyes, coughing and stuffy nose can be very difficult and debilitating, and spring is one of the worst seasons for you if you have seasonal allergies. But those allergies don’t just make you miserable all day – allergies pose a double whammy by severely impacting the quality of your sleep. Your nighttime suffering can also affect the sleep of those around you, as one of the results of seasonal allergies can be snoring due to congestion and swollen nasal passages (as if your sneezing and coughing at night weren’t disturbance enough).

Aside from waiting for the calendar to change there are a few things you can do to help with your allergy suffering during the day and at night.

  • Keep the windows and doors closed. Hard to do when the weather is so glorious! But most spring seasonal allergies are caused by pollen and other irritants floating in the air.
  • Change your clothes when you come in from the outside. Pollen will stay on your clothes and shoes, so leave your shoes at the door, and change to irritant free clothing when you come in.
  • Check the pollen count. The website provides daily information on the pollen count and allergy forecasts by zip code. If possible, limit your outdoor time when you know the counts are high. You can even sign up for email alerts!
  • Try a shower before bed. A shower can help in two ways: the steam can help with congestion and showering will makes sure that all of the pollen, etc., is out of your hair and off of your body, so you don’t bring those outside allergens to bed. And a nasal saline rinse before bed can help make sure that your nasal passages are free and clear of irritants.
  • Take something. There are over the counter antihistamines, decongestants and steroid nasal sprays that are often effective in reducing the symptoms of seasonal allergies. But always talk to your doctor if these products are not helping after a few days. And beware, some of those medications, even those available without a prescription, can keep you awake at night!