Pollen counts are updated daily from February 15 to November 15.
It’s the same thing almost every single night. You brush your teeth, finish your nightly routine, climb into bed, and immediately feel congested and sneezy.
Here are a few reasons why your allergy symptoms get worse at night:
We dig into the causes of nighttime allergies and steps you can take to get a sounder night’s sleep.
Research shows that
Whether allergies are due to mold, pet dander, pollen, or something else, they tend to have a common cluster of symptoms:
Dust mite and cockroach allergies can have similar symptoms, but may also include skin rashes and general itchiness.
If these symptoms are keeping you up at night, the good news is that you can take steps to eradicate triggers from your home.
Rashes, food allergies, or an upset stomach triggered by allergies can cause sleep problems, but the most common pair of sleep-destroyers are nasal allergies and asthma.
The allergens most often responsible for sleep disruption are typically:
Both asthma and allergy sufferers could have a dust mite allergy. Dust mites prefer carpeting, some furniture, and bedding to live in. Nearly microscopic dust mites may live on your pillow, box spring, and mattress.
Dust mites may cause symptoms like:
Those who are allergic to pet dander can have instant reactions or longer-term symptoms.
Dander can travel and land on household and bedroom surfaces, so an animal doesn’t have to be present for a pet dander allergic reaction to take place. Even if you don’t own a pet yourself, you can bring the dander home with you after vising someone who does.
Common symptoms of pet allergies include:
As one of the most common triggers, pollen allergies affect millions of people in the United States.
When you go outside, pollen particles settle on your skin, hair, clothes, and shoes. If you don’t take a shower and change your clothes, then you can end up with pollen in your bed.
Sleeping with an open window can also allow pollen to get in as the sun rises and pollen counts do, too.
This can cause symptoms like:
While you hope to never have to deal with indoor mildew and mold, it does happen.
Common symptoms of mold allergies include:
If you’re allergic to mold, then it could trigger your allergies and keep you up at night—especially if your bedroom is close to a bathroom.
Indoor mold should be cleaned as soon as it’s detected. To properly clean mold, mix about one cup of bleach (or detergent) with a gallon of water, then scrub until all surface mold is removed.
According to information from the ACAAI, up to 98% of U.S. urban homes could have cockroach allergens, with 63% of all other homes potentially containing the insect allergen.
Those with cockroach allergies may be more susceptible to sinus infections and ear infections. You might also experience wheezing, skin rashes, nasal congestion, and coughing.
Regardless of which allergen is triggering your nighttime allergies, there are a few additional steps you can take to relieve your symptoms and get a better night’s sleep.
Pillows and mattresses are great for you getting a good night’s sleep, but they also excel at harboring allergy triggers such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.
Replacing pillows or covering them with an anti-allergy pillowcase helps. In addition, there are anti-allergen mattress covers for sale that are effective in helping to relieve nighttime allergy symptoms.
Dust your furniture often with a damp cloth or microfiber glove to ensure that you capture the dust, not just spread it around. Vacuum carpets regularly, too.
HEPA air purifiers are designed to remove airborne particles that can make your allergies worse.
By using a dehumidifier and air conditioner, you can set the right conditions to slow mold or mite growth. The ideal humidity should be around 30-50% and the temperature should be 70 degrees F or below.
As tempting as it can be to let the cool outdoor breeze flow through your windows at night, this can also allow dust mites, pollen, and other airborne allergens to enter your home.
Depending on your symptoms, taking some over-the-counter antihistamines may provide you with enough relief to get some shut-eye.
When you have to wrestle with your allergies each night at bedtime, you may fitfully toss and turn and then wake up exhausted. It feels like you slept for maybe an hour or two. As you drag on with your day, bleary-eyed and dead tired, it’s easy to assume you’re so exhausted because your stuffy nose, eye itchiness, and coughing kept you awake.
While that could be true, you could also be dealing with sleep apnea without even knowing it.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a form of sleep apnea associated with allergies. The nasal symptoms of your allergies make you snore when you might regularly don’t. The sound of your snoring, while very distracting to a partner, can even bother you, causing you to wake up again and again throughout the night.
The upper airway is obstructed with this sleep apnea, either somewhat or all the way. Since your airway cannot open, the lungs don’t get as much air unless your chest muscles and diaphragm strain.
You can have obstructive sleep apnea and not even know it because you’re barely aware of what’s causing you to keep waking all night. Here are the other symptoms:
By seeing your provider, you can begin getting your case of obstructive sleep apnea under control.
While the steps above can be helpful, sometimes they aren’t enough to fully relieve your symptoms.
If you answer “yes” to one or more of the questions below, you may want to consider seeing an allergist.
An allergist can work with you to evaluate the sources of your allergies and create a treatment plan to help prevent, manage, and control your symptoms.
Ultimately, the goal of allergy treatment will be to allow you to live as normal and symptom-free a life as possible.
There are multiple potential triggers for night-time allergy symptoms—and no matter what types of allergies you have, they have the potential to ruin your sleep. But with a few simple allergen-reducing tricks, and (for some) the help of an allergist, you’ll be well on your way to a good night’s sleep.
Are nighttime allergies keeping you up? Talk with one of our board-certified allergists! Today, the center has 12 offices in and around Charlotte. All the 14 allergists at the center are board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. To make an appointment at an office near you call 704-372-7900.
Please note: Due to healthcare privacy laws, we cannot answer any questions pertaining to personal health information by e-mail.