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Why Are My Allergies Worse at Night?

Last updated: Dec 6, 2021 Post in Allergy Testing in Downtown Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

If you feel congested and sneezy as soon as you climb into the bed and feel too restless to sleep, chances are you are suffering from nighttime allergies. If you already suffer from allergies, your symptoms are more likely to worsen in the evening. Do not let symptoms like runny or blocked nose, itchy and watery eyes, and wheezing wreck your night and the following day leaving you tired and worn out. Set up an appointment with an allergy, asthma, and immunology doctor at the Century Medical and Dental Center to figure out the causes behind nighttime allergies and ways to treat them. The experienced and board-certified allergy doctors in NYC will recommend the best tips for building a better immune system and preventing your symptoms from worsening at night.

Allergies are our body’s reaction to a normally harmless substance such as pollen, molds, animal dander, latex, certain foods, and insect stings. Symptoms of an allergy range from mild rashes, hives, itchiness, and runny nose and watery eyes to life-threatening signs such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

If you have seasonal or environmental allergies, these symptoms may come and go at different times of the day. However, if you only experience sniffles and itchy eyes when you lie down at night, it may be bedtime allergies.

What Triggers Nighttime Allergy Symptoms?

There are multiple potential triggers for nighttime allergy symptoms. They include indoor allergens such as:

  • Dust mites;
  • Pen dander;
  • Pollen;
  • Mold.

These allergens are present in the bedroom, stick to your clothing or bedding and cause allergy symptoms when you are exposed to them or go out. It is the same way for pollen. If you do not wash your hands immediately after spending time outside or change your clothes and shoes, you can face allergy symptoms when you lie down for sleep.
Nighttime Allergies

Types of Allergies That Flare-up at Night

No matter what type of allergy you suffer from, it can affect your sleep and health. Rashes, food reactions, or an upset stomach triggered by allergies can lead to sleep problems. Nasal allergies and asthma are the most common types of sensitivities that worsen in the evening.

Causes of Allergies – Why Do I Have Allergies Only at Night

Dust mites

Asthma and allergy sufferers could have a dust mite allergy. Dust mites make their home in carpets, furniture, and bedding as they prefer warmer indoor environments like the bedroom. It is one reason your allergy acts up at night, as there are dust mites in the room. Nearly microscopic dust mites may be living on your pillow, box spring, and mattress.

Dust mites can result in symptoms like itchiness, a feeling of being unable to breathe, chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, eye itchiness and redness, nose stuffiness, and sneezing.

Pet dander

Allergy to pet dander can have instant reactions or long-term symptoms that can be pretty intense. You do not necessarily need to have a pet or go close to an animal to get a pet dander reaction. Dander can travel and land on household and bedroom surfaces. It means even if you do not own a pet, you can bring it to your home and end up with allergy symptoms for days and weeks that become worse at night.

Pollen

It is one of the most common allergy triggers and affects millions of people all over the world. Even though it is an outdoor powder, pollen can travel anywhere. Animals, insects, birds, and the wind can transport it easily.

When you go outside, pollen particles settle on your skin, hair, clothes, and shoes, and if you do not wash your clothes or take a shower, you could bring the pollen to your bed. Sleeping with an open window can also get pollen inside as pollen count rises with the sun.

Indoor mold

If you are allergic to mold, it can trigger your allergies and keep you up at night. It mostly happens if your bedroom is close to a bathroom as mold thrives in dark and damp places.

Cleaning indoor mold as soon as you see it is the only way to get rid of it. Use detergent and bleach to clean mold carefully, so that it does not come back and aggravate your allergy symptoms.

Cockroaches

Insect allergens can be dangerous. They can get in through your window and make you feel symptomatic.

Cockroach allergy can make you vulnerable to sinus infections and other infections. You may end up with wheezing, skin rashes, nasal congestion, and coughing as your symptoms progress.

Allergies and Sleep Apnea

Wrestling with allergies every night is no fun. It only causes a restless night, and you wake up all exhausted and weary instead of fresh and rested to begin a new day. Sleeping fitfully not only makes it a challenge to wake up in the morning but also makes your allergy seems more pronounced. You end up looking exhausted and worn out, and your stuffy nose, eye itchiness, and coughing make it easy to assume you were unable to rest properly.

In addition to allergic reactions, sleep apnea is another condition that can prevent you from having a restful sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is a form of sleep apnea closely linked to allergies.
The upper airway is obstructed with this sleep apnea, either partially or all the way. As the airway cannot open, lungs do not get sufficient air, which strains the chest muscles and diaphragm.

The nasal symptoms of your allergies make you snore, and due to this, you may end up waking up again and again throughout the night. It is not only irritating but also affects your quality of sleep. Many people do not even know that they suffer from obstructive sleep apnea because they are barely aware of what keeps on waking them up all night.

Other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Constant feelings of exhaustion that makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning;
  • A choking or gasping feeling that wakes you up, even several times a night;
  • Snoring;
  • Feeling of restlessness;
  • Night sweating;
  • Mood changes such as depression, forgetfulness, and difficulty in concentration;
  • Morning headaches;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Sore throat in the morning.

Has your obstructive sleep apnea been checked by a doctor to determine the causes behind your condition? Getting sleep apnea under control can help you rest well and feel better in the morning.

How to Sleep Well With Allergies

If you do not suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, there is a chance that you can work on your nighttime allergies and enjoy a good rest with some precautionary measures.

Avoid higher pollen levels at night

Pollen levels continue to rise throughout the night and peak around down. Keeping windows closed and running air conditioning with a good air filter can help to avoid higher pollen levels and reduce allergy symptoms.

Keep your pillow and mattress clean

Pillows and mattresses play a significant role in helping you enjoy a good night’s sleep, but they are also a hideaway for triggers such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. Replacing pillows or covering them with an anti-allergy pillowcase can prevent allergens and relieve symptoms of nighttime allergy. Anti-allergen mattress covers are also effective in keeping away allergies.

Keep pets away from the bedroom

Pets carry dust mites, pollen, and other allergens in the furs that make their way to other parts of the house, especially your bedroom. Allowing pets to sleep on your beds can transfer these allergens onto the bedding and nightclothes, worsening the allergy symptoms.

Keep your sleeping environment allergen-free

The room you sleep in must be regularly cleaned to remove pollen, dust mites, and other allergens. Vacuuming under the bed, wiping the hard flooring, molding, and the walls near your bed with white vinegar can keep the sleeping environment free of all allergens. Mold is an allergen that thrives on dark walls and floors. Make sure to keep relative humidity at the recommended levels of 30-50% and air conditioning to maintain temperatures at 70 degrees F or below to reduce dust mite and mold growth.

Wash thoroughly before going to bed

Our body and hair are exposed to various allergens during the day, such as pollen and dust which accumulate on the skin and hair. Take a shower or wash your hair and body thoroughly before going to bed to avoid bringing allergens into bed with you.

Tips for Managing Nighttime Allergies and Sleeping Better

Doctors recommend some tips for controlling your nighttime allergies and getting a good night’s sleep. They include:

  • Ensuring adequate ventilation in every room if indoor mold is the main culprit behind nighttime allergies. Kitchens, bathrooms, and basements are hotspots for allergies as humidity levels change here more often;
  • Use a dehumidifier in the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basement as they keep away moisture and prevent indoor mold allergies;
  • Check out and repair any breakage or leakage in pipes or roof;
  • Call an exterminator if you have cockroaches; if there are any gaps in the windows, a crack in the wall, or a small crevice from where these cockroaches can get it, get them fixed;
  • Change clothes and wash them after you are done spending time with your pets; avoid bringing clothes with pet drool or dander into your bedroom unless they are clean;
  • Wash your sheets and other bedding at a high temperature to remove the lingering mites if you suffer from dust mite allergy;
  • Change and clean your bedding every week to keep the dust mites away;
  • Get plastic or fabric covers for your pillows, box spring, and mattresses to prevent dust mites from getting into the bed;
  • Vacuum under the bed regularly to reduce dust and pet dander.

When to See a Doctor

Visiting an allergy and immunology doctor is essential if your allergies keep you from a deep and comfortable slumber. As you cannot sneeze while you are sleeping, it means the body cannot rid itself of the allergens, which can worsen the symptoms and wake you up.

Avoidance and preventive measures are the best way to control these allergens, especially in your bedroom. Keeping your sleeping environment and sleepwear clear of allergens is enough to give you a comfortable rest at night. But sometimes, it is not enough, and you may require medication to keep your condition in check.

If your allergies do not seem to be getting better, despite all efforts, and you face difficulty sleeping at night, see your primary care doctor who will work on your symptoms and come up with ways to relieve them. The allergy, asthma, and immunology doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center work out the causes behind your condition and why they aggravate at night to guard you against preventable diseases. They will come up with the best solutions and help to build a safe and healthy home environment for you and your family.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 6, 2021 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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