You hear it over and over again from your family when they complain every morning that you’ve been keeping them up at night again—with your snoring. You don’t always snore, but it seems to happen every time you get an allergy attack. Snoring and allergies , Is that just a coincidence? Probably not!
Studies have shown that sleep can be dramatically impaired by allergic symptoms, and may also cause snoring. Snoring is not only a problem for the family members who are kept awake by it, but it is also an indication that the affected person is not getting enough restorative sleep. Many health risks can be associated with snoring. When snoring indicates that breathing is interrupted, this can actually cause low oxygen levels in the blood, chronic headaches, and many other problems with the health.
Can Allergies Cause Snoring?
Allergies by themselves aren’t usually the direct cause of snoring, but they can certainly affect your snoring habits indirectly. Seasonal allergies such as hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis) affect more than 50 million Americans each year. So if you are struggling with this, you’re not alone.
Spring allergies happen because plants are germinating and the air fills with pollen. Other year-round allergies that can cause problems include dust, dander, mold, and pet hair. Cigarette smoke, perfume, exhaust and pollution may also be contributors to allergic rhinitis.
How Allergies Cause Snoring
The reason that seasonal and year-round allergies can cause snoring is because allergies can create a stuffy nose and congestion. This stuffiness causes blockage in the nasal passages which can result in sleep-disordered breathing that promotes snoring. As the breathing passages are blocked, the tissues around them vibrate as the air comes in and out of the nose. This vibration creates a loud noise that is called snoring.
Besides nasal congestion and snoring, symptoms and signs of allergies may include:
- Itchy, red eyes
- Scratchy, itchy throat
- Runny nose (post nasal drip)
- Fatigue and general malaise
- Disrupted sleep
- Decreased cognitive performance
- Daytime sleepiness
Treatment for Snoring Due to Allergies
In any kind of treatment for snoring, it’s important first to determine what the cause is. If the cause of your snoring is allergies, then treating the allergies would be the first step in eliminating the problem. Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medication may be suggested by a medical professional for treating hay fever that flares up with the weather changes.
To help mitigate problems with snoring during allergy season, try these treatment options for at-home:
Apply Menthol Rub. Applying a menthol rub to the chest before bed can be helpful in clearing up the nose and throat to eliminate snoring. The active ingredients like camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol may reduce inflammation, suppress and allergic cough, open up the breathing passages and relieve minor irritation in the bronchial tubes that may be caused by allergies.
Use a Humidifier. Sometimes snoring with allergies is made worse by dry air that causes swelling in the nasal passages and makes it harder to breathe. Using a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom at night may help to eliminate snoring by adding moisture to the air. (A heat humidifier is not likely to work as well as one with a cool mist.)
Change Sleep Positions. People who sleep on their backs are more likely to engage in snoring. As gravity works to block throat and nasal passages, this can contribute to stuffiness in the nose and throat. Changing sleep positions to the side can help to open up breathing passages and reduce problems with snoring. Special pillows and foam wedges are available that can help you to make your sleep position comfortable while effectively reducing sleep related breathing problems.
Try a Neti Pot. This remedy for sinus congestion helps to break up mucus and congestion that can cause snoring. A neti pot uses saline water flowing in through one nostril and out through the other. The technique takes a bit of getting used to, but it can work wonders for some people to restore proper breathing.
Consider Nasal Strips. If nasal congestion due to allergies is causing you to snore, then opening up your breathing passages may help. Nasal strips are simple little adhesive strips that you stick to the outside of your nose before going to sleep. This physically opens up the nostril and may help reduce snoring due to stuffiness and congestion. Nasal strips for snoring are a small financial investment without any negative side effects, other than possibly feeling a bit silly about the way you look when you’re sleeping with an adhesive strip on your nose.
Change Your Bedding. If your allergies seem to go away during the day and then flare up again at night, you may actually be allergic to your bedding. Low quality or old feather pillows and comforters are a common cause of allergic reactions in sensitive people. Make sure that your bedding is hypo-allergenic and cleaned on a regular basis to avoid allergic reactions. People who are highly sensitive may need to invest in high-quality bedding that provides a barrier to keep dust mites from infesting pillows and comforters.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol and Smoking. As a sedative, alcohol has a tendency to relax the muscles in the neck and exacerbating already existing problems with breathing at night. Smoking, or even being around second hand smoke, can cause inflammation in the nasal passages and throat that exacerbates snoring due to allergies.
Snoring from allergies may be more than just a nuisance, but can seriously impact the life of families if they all can’t seem to get enough sleep. The good news is that many natural options are available for reducing nasal inflammation and opening up the airways to reduce the possibility of snoring. If your snoring and allergies are keeping you up at night, then handling them with these tips may help get you back to sleep, help you feel better during the day, and give you a fresh outlook on life!