Sleep Health

Hay Fever: how does it affect sleep?

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Effectively managing hayfever can make both your days and nights much more pleasant.

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is fairly common in Australia where around 19% of people are affected by it.1 It’s caused by your immune system over-reacting to common triggers such as fungal spores, pollen, dust mites and pet fur.2

Hay fever symptoms during the night

If you have hay fever, you’re no stranger to the unpleasant symptoms during spring caused by a reaction to the pollen and spore-filled air. Unfortunately, the night doesn't offer much respite. And the symptoms aren’t limited to springtime.

As well as causing a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, hay fever may have an impact on sleep quality too.

Hay fever often gets worse during the evening, because allergens floating around during the day fall back down to the ground as the temperature drops, exposing you to higher levels at night, triggering your immune system to react.

Persistent symptoms can disturb your sleep, causing tiredness, fatigue, poor concentration and behavioural changes the next day. In addition, hay fever may also predispose people to obstructive sleep apnea by encouraging their upper airways to collapse during sleep, resulting in reduced airflow, a drop in your blood oxygen levels and interrupted sleep.2

Subduing hay fever

Given that the impact of hay fever on sleep quality stems from the disruptive effects of its symptoms, the best way to improve your rest at night is to manage hay fever during the day.

For example, if nasal congestion or a runny nose is an issue for you, speak to your local pharmacist about antihistamine tablets to reduce the allergic reaction or a nasal spray to ease the inflammation in your nasal passages.

To reduce symptoms at night, you may also decide to keep your windows closed during the afternoon and throughout the night to avoid excess exposure to pollen-laden outside air.

If symptoms persist or continue to worsen, see your doctor to get some professional advice.

Quality sleep has a flow-on effect through the day.

Good sleep every night is important for your health and well-being, so it's worth the time and effort to work out what works best for you. After all, you want to enjoy spring, and you don't want lethargy slowing you down!

What if your sleep issues are serious?

Prolonged sleeping issues is often the result of more significant health issues. Take our online sleep assessment to check yourself.

 

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Interested in other ways to improve your sleep?

We've created an online sleep assessment to test your sleep quality and uncover any underlying issues that may exist. Sleep Apnea affects a large percentage of the population and is characterized by symptoms such as: snoring, waking up several times throughout the night and a sore throat. If these symptoms sound familiar, try our online sleep assessment today.

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Citations

1

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, Allergic rhinitis ('hay fever'), viewed 11 October 2019, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever 

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