Family Health | Living With Chronic Conditions | Lungs, Breathing & Allergies | Men’s Health | Women’s Health
woman having trouble sleeping with allergies

Don’t Let Allergies Ruin Your Sleep

3 allergy-relief tips to stop tossing, turning

After a day spent with the hallmarks of allergies – the itchy, watering eyes and stuffy nose – all you may want is a good night’s sleep.

Unfortunately, allergies have a way of following you to bed, making it hard not only to fall asleep but also to stay asleep.

“Studies of quality of life have compared people with allergies to people who have had open heart surgery, and the results were similar — just miserable,” says immunologist Sandra Hong, MD. “A lack of sleep definitely contributes to that.”

Dr. Hong shares three tips for allergy sufferers to get more restful sleep:

  • Keep your bedroom allergen-free

    This is easier said than done, Dr. Hong says. If it’s seasonal allergies keeping you awake, take a shower before bed and leave dirty clothes outside your room. Keep your bedroom windows closed and run the air conditioning. If you use a window unit, make sure it’s recirculating the air and not venting it in from outside. For dust mite allergies, keep dust mite covers on your bedding. And if you suffer from pet allergies, make your bedroom an animal-free zone.

  • Clean carefully

    Dr. Hong recommends making your house — and especially your bedroom — carpet-free to make it easier to clean up allergens.  If you have dust mite allergies, wash your bedding in hot water and dry in high heat.  Never dry your linens outside where pollen can follow them into your bed.

  • Use the right medications

    “Using medications properly can make all the difference in the world,” says Dr. Hong. “Antihistamines help with itching and sneezing, but alone do nothing to help the congestion that keeps you up at night.” Decongestants are the “D” part in allergy medications like Allegra-D®, but they can have a stimulant effect that disrupts sleep in some people.

    The best choice for allergy relief and restful sleep are prescription nasal steroids — sold as brands like Flonase® and Nasonex®. While it may be tempting on sleepless nights to use a prescription or over-the-counter sleep aid, Dr. Hong never recommends their use, especially for her patients with allergies.

    “If your medications aren’t working, make sure you see your physician,” Dr. Hong says. “There are other options we can try,” she adds.

  • Allergy sufferers can find relief – and more restful sleep – by addressing allergies from different angles: limiting allergen exposure, using the right medication and seeing your doctor if symptoms persist.

    Tags: allergies, sleep
    Cleveland Clinic now offers same-day appointments. Get the care you need, right away at 888.223.CARE.

    We welcome your comments. However, we cannot provide a medical opinion without an in-person consultation. To learn about Cleveland Clinic services available to you, please fill out our WebMail form.
    • Shan

      If you’re allergic to dust mite, anti-dust mite bed covers are a MUST. It helps a lot. Here’s my experience http://bit.ly/ZnANT1

    • Mercedes

      Don’t understand number 3. I have congestion at night and have a prescription for Flonese. Do I use it or not use it?

      • Cynni Reed Francis

        Yes, use your Flonase, not Medication with a Decongestant or over the counter sleep aids. The sentence runs together, but here is what he is really saying: The best choice for allergy relief and restful sleep are prescription nasal steroids — sold as brands like Flonase® and Nasonex®.

    • Jude

      I may have to come there as I am getting no help here .Do you deal with Toxic Mold too?

    • diane

      What can I do for the coughing .tryed everything

    • Stuart

      Dr Hong is wrong. Keep the bedroom windows closed and run the air conditioning.? Not here in Australia. We have plenty of pollen but “fresh air” is best.