Are you tired of losing sleep because of those pesky allergy symptoms? High-quality rest can make a huge difference in our daily lives, but this can be difficult when allergies seem to be the worst at night. It’s hard to fall asleep with a runny nose and sneezing!
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s take a look at what can trigger allergies and why they flare up at night. Most importantly, I’m going to share with you some ways you can tackle those symptoms for a great night’s sleep.
What Typically Triggers Your Allergies
There are a variety of irritants that can trigger your allergies such as pollen and animals. Let’s take a look at common allergy triggers. Keep in mind that various immune systems react differently and your body may react negatively if it sees one of these substances as harmful.
This is one of the most common causes of allergies, especially during the summer and spring. That’s because pollen counts increase as more plants bloom. This irritant typically comes from grass, trees, and weeds.
Read more about summer allergies.
2. Insect Sting
Not only can an insect sting hurt, but some people experience an allergic reaction where the site swells up or starts to itch. Stings most commonly come from bees, fire ants, wasps, and yellow jackets.
3. Dust Mites
These tiny pests can barely be seen and live throughout homes since they feed on dead skin cells. They often live in your pillows, furniture fabric, comforters, and rugs so if you regularly wash these items, it can help get rid of them.
4. Animal Dander
If you have an animal allergy, you likely experience a reaction when in contact with a cat or dog. With that said, some people are allergic to other animals. Proteins in animal dander, saliva, urine, and feces are what can cause an allergic reaction.
Tiny fungi that float in the air are mold. Mold is usually found in damp areas like around your windows and under sinks. It’s also more common in locations with high humidity.
Are you someone who has continuous exposure to latex? If so, you may have a latex allergy. If you have a latex allergy, you might react to items like latex gloves, bandages, and rubber bands.
If you experience a food allergy, it may be mild or severe. Common foods that trigger an allergic reaction include fish, nuts, wheat, eggs, and milk.
If you’re not sure what you’re allergic to there are a few ways to figure it out.
- Skin-prick test: Your healthcare provider will do a health check, then place a variety of allergens on the skin to see which one(s) you react to. Results are typically fairly quick.
- Blood test: Your healthcare provider will do a health check, then take a blood sample. A lab will add allergens to the sample to test what you’re allergic to. Results usually take longer for this test.
- Self-evaluation: Take notes about when your allergies begin, what you’ve been exposed to, and how long they last. A lot of times you can figure out the cause this way.
Common Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms vary depending on the allergen and usually occur soon after exposure to an allergen. However, a reaction can sometimes take up to a couple of hours to develop.
Many reactions feel like a cold. Symptoms may include:
- Itchy throat, nose, and eyes
- Stuffy nose
- Red, watery eyes
Other symptoms can also occur, depending on the allergen:
- Itchy skin
- Upset stomach
- Skin rash or redness
Why Your Allergies Could Be Flaring Up More at Night
According to the Sleep Foundation, allergies can be worse at night because some allergens are actually found in your bedroom. These may include dust mites and pet dander. Oftentimes these irritants are found in bedding. If so, they can cause you to react when you settle in for the night and the symptoms then affect your ability to sleep.
But, what if you experience other allergies like hay fever (pollen) or mold? Since allergens can enter your nasal passage and cause irritation, symptoms are triggered. These symptoms include sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes. When these linger at night, your sleep is inevitably disrupted.
Another reason for your allergies being worse at night could be due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Research shows that allergic rhinitis could be a risk factor for sleep apnea. This is because allergies can cause nasal obstruction and upper-away restrictions. However, the study does show that this is more common in children due to the immaturity of their immune system.
If you’re someone who has asthma and allergies, you may also see flare-ups at night. The Sleep Foundation also reports that those with asthma are even more sensitive to allergens such as dust mites, pests droppings, animal dander, and mold. These allergens can be in your bedroom or ones you were exposed to during the day and you experience a delayed response.
Although there’s no shortage of reasons why allergy symptoms can intensify at night, there are many ways to handle it.
Tips for Relieving Your Nighttime Allergies
Not only is suffering from allergies when you’re trying to get some much-need rest frustrating, but we also know how a lack of sleep can affect our day-to-day life. Good rest is crucial for productivity and overall quality of life.
While many people use an allergy medication such as an antihistamine, keep in mind that these can cause unwanted side effects if used in excess.
So, how can you fight off allergy symptoms for a good night’s sleep? Let’s take a look...
1. Clean your bedroom regularly
Since allergens may be present in your bedroom, it’s important to keep your space clean. It can make a huge difference to wash your bedding often and clean sheets are the best! Clean things you may not think to clean as often such as the floors, curtains, etc. to get rid of irritants.
2. Use a dehumidifier
If damp air is causing mold, a dehumidifier can be used to reduce the moisture. Either run it for a while before bedtime or purchase one with safety settings for using overnight.
3. Invest in an air purifier
Air purifiers are meant to clean the air and get rid of harmful particles from pet dander, smoke, mold, and more. While these pollutants aren’t always necessarily harmful, they can be if you’re allergic to them. A purifier has a filter and a fan to clean the air around you.
4. Drink something warm
Drinking warm water (with lemon for a boost) or a cup of hot tea can soothe several allergy symptoms. Liquids help with thinning mucus that causes decongestion. Meanwhile, steam from a warm beverage can relieve throat discomfort.
5. Close your windows
If you suffer from an outdoor allergy such as pollen, it’s crucial to close your windows to keep allergens out.
6. Change out your air filter
This can be applied at any time, of course, but changing your air filter out regularly can add to the likelihood of relieving nighttime allergy symptoms. A clean air filter works to remove irritants from the air. Some air filters are specially used for fighting off common allergens.
7. Use an oil diffuser
A diffuser holds water and essential oils, then is turned on to release the oils into the air. Inhaling essential oils can offer many health benefits including allergy relief. Oils that can help tackle your allergy symptoms include peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender.
Read more: 8 Essential Oils That Can Help Soothe Your Pesky Allergies
8. Take a shower before bed
Not only is a warm shower relaxing after a long day, but it can work wonders in helping you fight nighttime allergies. A shower allows you to cleanse your hair and skin of any possible allergens. Also, the steam from a warm shower can help relieve symptoms like a stuffy nose.
9. Have your pets sleep outside of the bedroom
This one can be tough for us pet-lovers! But, if you’re possibly allergic to pet dander or allergens your pet’s fur is carrying such as pollen from outside, it’s the best decision for your rest. Create a designated sleeping space for them outside of your bedroom.
10. Use a nasal inhaler
A nasal inhaler like BoomBoom can alleviate nighttime allergy symptoms. It contains essential oils and menthol which help get rid of symptoms like nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat.
This can be used as opposed to an essential oil diffuser if you’re looking for something a little more convenient. Nasal inhalers are also easy to travel with!
Bonus: Many of these nighttime allergy remedies are also great practices for a relaxing end-of-the-day routine even when you’re not suffering from allergies.
Dealing with allergies during the day is bad enough. But, when they seem to be worse at night, that’s when it becomes really frustrating. Knowing the cause and having a toolbox of solutions can make a huge difference to give you great rest.
There aren’t many things better than waking up refreshed! Read more about how you can get the best night’s sleep for your body.