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Allergic to a Good Night's Sleep?

By Jody Smith HERWriter
are you allergic to sleeping well? B-D-S/PhotoSpin

Allergies can make your days miserable. For many Americans the nights can be even tougher.

An article on WebMD.com by Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD reported that a mere 17 percent of patients living with allergies sleep well. In the same study about 50 percent said their ability to sleep was disrupted by their allergies and nasal congestion.

William E. Berger, MD, MBA, professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine is also past president of the American College of Allergy and Immunology and author of Allergies and Asthma for Dummies .

Berger said that nasal allergies tend to cause itching, production of mucus, runny nose and sneezing. This tends to be followed by swollen mucous membranes and nasal congestion. Breathing problems will often develop and that makes it hard to sleep.

Your body's natural cycles contribute to greater troubles in the middle of the night. Cortisol levels are at their lowest ebb at night. This allows more inflammation to plague your lungs and nose.

You may experience greater allergy discomfort from dust mite or pet allergies at night. Histamine helps regulate sleep but it can also intensify asthma or allergic rhinitis symptoms.

Atopic dermatitis can cause a mighty itchiness of the skin. It increases after dark due to pet allergens and dust mites, higher histamine levels, and the absence of distraction from the supreme itching as you lay in the dark ... and scratch. Add it all up and you've got a bad night's sleep.

Asthma can be more of a going concern at night. Those lower cortisol levels at night leave your lungs more prone to bronchospasm.

Allergic rhinitis can make it hard to sleep due to symptoms like nasal congestion, itching of eyes and nose, runny nose and sneezing. Particularly in childhood, allergic rhinitis can also lead to enlarged adenoids and tonsils. Sleep apnea and snoring can result from this enlargement.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your breathing stops periodically while you're sleeping due to upper airway obstruction brought about by airway collapse or excess tissue getting in the way. For the asthmatic, sleep apnea can make the asthma symptoms worse.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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