How to Sleep with Allergies: 7 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

woman lying on bed covering her face surrounded by photos and white camera. How to Sleep with Allergies?

How to Sleep with Allergies

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from allergies, you know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep. Allergies can cause congestion, sneezing, and itchiness that make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.

There are some things you can do to ease your allergy symptoms and get a better night’s sleep. Here are a few tips:

What are the symptoms of allergies?

1. Sneezing

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a common condition that causes sneezing, nasal congestion, and other respiratory symptoms. Sneezing is a common symptom of allergies, and it can be triggered by various allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, and mold. When allergens enter the nasal passages, the immune system overreacts and releases histamine, leading to sneezing, runny nose, and other allergy symptoms.

Sneezing can have a significant impact on sleep, especially if it occurs at night. Allergens in the bedroom can trigger sneezing and other allergy symptoms, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Dust, mold, and pet hair are common allergens in the bedroom, and they can cause nighttime sneezing and congestion. Additionally, sleeping position can also affect sneezing and nasal congestion. Lying flat or in a position that obstructs breathing can worsen nasal symptoms and contribute to sleep disruptions.

To prevent sneezing and other allergy symptoms, it’s important to reduce exposure to allergens in the bedroom. Dusting and vacuuming regularly, using an air purifier, and taking allergy medication before bed can help alleviate symptoms and improve sleep. If allergies persist , it’s recommended to seek professional medical treatment for a tailored approach to allergy management. Skin testing can help identify specific allergens and lead to personalized treatment options, such as antihistamines, prescription medications, and allergy immunotherapy. By taking steps to reduce exposure to allergens and seeking appropriate treatment, you can improve your allergies and get the healthy, energizing sleep you need.

2. Itchy eyes

Itchy eyes caused by allergies are a common symptom of allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Other symptoms may include a runny nose, sneezing, cough, postnasal drip, and eye puffiness or dark circles. Allergic rhinitis can also lead to sleep problems such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, and daytime sleepiness. Pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold are common allergens that trigger these symptoms. Taking steps to eradicate allergens from your home and seeking medical treatment can help alleviate these symptoms.

close-up photo of persons eye

3. Runny nose

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is a condition that is triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include a runny nose, which is characterized by clear, thin discharge that may be accompanied by sneezing, itching, and nasal congestion. Unlike a runny nose caused by a cold or flu, a runny nose caused by allergies does not typically involve thick, discolored mucus.

Allergic rhinitis may also cause itchy, watery eyes, postnasal drip, and a scratchy or sore throat. The severity of these symptoms can vary depending on the individual and the allergen involved. If you are experiencing symptoms of a runny nose caused by allergies, it is important to identify and avoid triggers whenever possible, and to seek medical treatment if symptoms persist or interfere with your quality of life.

4. Congestion

Allergies can cause congestion, which makes it harder to breathe through the nose. Congestion can also cause coughing and increased production of mucus. These symptoms can reduce sleep quality, cause nighttime awakenings, lead to sleepiness the following day, and increase the risk of sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea.

To identify congestion caused by allergies, look for symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes, and a cough that won’t quit. If you have difficulty breathing at night due to allergies, consider repositioning your head to a raised level, taking allergy medication before bed, and cleaning your bedroom to minimize allergens.

5. Coughing

Allergies can cause coughing by triggering an immune response that produces excess mucus in the respiratory system. This mucus can irritate the throat and cause coughing. There are two main types of coughs that may occur due to allergies: dry coughs and productive coughs.

A dry cough is a non-productive cough that does not produce mucus, while a productive cough is a cough that produces mucus. To relieve coughing caused by allergies, you can try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, which can help soothe the throat and reduce coughing.

Additionally, over-the-counter cough medicine can help suppress coughs. It is also important to identify and avoid allergens that may be triggering your cough.

6. Skin irritation

Allergies can cause skin irritation, which can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. When our immune system overreacts to a harmless substance, it releases histamine, which can cause itching, redness, and swelling on the skin.

Common symptoms of skin allergies include

  • hives,
  • a skin rash,
  • or inflamed and irritated eyes.

Additionally, allergies to pet dander can cause instant reactions or longer-term symptoms, and 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.

7. Fatigue

Allergies can have a significant impact on your sleep, causing fatigue and difficulty with falling and staying asleep. This can lead to a decrease in productivity and a poor quality of life. Allergies are particularly common in children and can cause them to miss school or have difficulty learning and paying attention during the day.

To manage allergy-related fatigue and improve your sleep, it’s important to identify and treat your allergies. This can include taking allergy medication or using nasal sprays to alleviate symptoms. It’s also important to practice good sleep hygiene habits, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.

8. Mood swings

Allergies can have a significant impact on mood swings. When an individual experiences an allergic reaction, the body releases histamine, which can cause symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, and itching. These symptoms can lead to discomfort and frustration, which can contribute to mood swings.

Allergies can disrupt sleep, which can further exacerbate mood swings. Overall, managing allergies effectively can go a long way in improving both physical and emotional well-being.

9. Sleep deprivation

Allergies can cause a variety of sleep difficulties that range from occasional fitful night sleep to diagnosis with a sleep disorder. People with allergies often don’t feel refreshed in the morning, and they may feel tired throughout the day. Some people report feeling anxious or depressed due to lack of sleep. Allergies can also cause breathing problems, which can result in sleep deprivation.

A good night’s sleep is essential, and the effects of poor sleep can disrupt both your mind and body. Poor sleep can cause a decline in thinking ability, decision making, and brain activity. It can even cause a person to have poor memory and has been linked to depression.

There are real consequences for the body as well. Loss of sleep is linked to not just physical fatigue, but also weight gain and even type 2 diabetes.

10. Digestive problems

Allergies can cause digestive problems by triggering an immune response in the body, which can lead to inflammation and irritation of the digestive system. Common symptoms of digestive problems caused by allergies include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. These symptoms can disrupt sleep by causing discomfort and pain, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.

Allergies can cause nasal congestion, which can lead to snoring and sleep apnea, further disrupting sleep. Try to pass a sleep apnea test or you even can use your apple watch to detect sleep apnea.

What factors influence sleep with allergies?

Allergies can significantly impact sleep quality due to

  • the various symptoms they cause, such as nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing.
  • Allergens like non-stinging insects, fungal growth, pets, and airborne pollen can irritate nasal passages, making breathing more difficult, which can directly interfere with sleep.
  • Inflammation caused by allergies can also lead to increased snoring and sleep apnea risk.
  • Medications used to treat allergies can also have an impact on sleep, as some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, while others may disrupt sleep.

7 Tips for getting better sleep with allergies

Getting quality sleep is crucial for individuals with allergies to manage their symptoms effectively. Allergies can cause discomfort, leading to snoring, breathing difficulties and sore throat, making it difficult to fall asleep especially if you are excited or stressed. Here are seven tips to help individuals with allergies get better sleep:

  1. Invest in anti-allergy bedding made of technologically advanced fabrics to keep dust, pollen, and dirt from getting into your mattress. Avoid wool and feather-type bedding that harbors more dust and dirt than synthetic fibers.
  2. Keep pets out of the bedroom as they can bring pollen, dust mites, and mold.
  3. Shower before bedtime to wash off pollen from your body and hair.
  4. Use a Neti Pot or other sinus rinse solutions to remove excess mucus and clear your sinuses of allergy-causing particles.
  5. Change your sleeping position to alleviate sinus pain. Try sleeping in an upright position by tucking a few pillows under your upper back and head.
  6. Add a HEPA filter to the bedroom to remove allergens from the air.
  7. Replace old pillows every six months or use zippered pillow covers to protect them from dust mites and other allergens. Wash the cover every three weeks and the pillow every three months.
  8. Hypoallergenic bedding materials like organic cotton, bamboo, silk, and Tencel are great options.

By following these tips, individuals with allergies can improve the quality of their sleep and manage their symptoms effectively. Additionally, replacing bedroom carpeting with tile, vinyl, or wood flooring and using blinds or roll-up shades instead of curtains can help minimize exposure to allergens.

Remember to vacuum and clean carpets regularly. Using these tips will help alleviate allergy symptoms, leading to a more comfortable and restful night’s sleep.

Can the Tips for Sleeping with Allergies also Apply to Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery?

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, the tips for sleeping with allergies can also be beneficial for those recovering from shoulder surgery. Elevating the upper body with pillows, using hypoallergenic bedding, and keeping the room cool can all help individuals sleep better after shoulder surgery. Creating a cozy sleep environment and following a consistent sleep schedule can aid in a speedy recovery and overall well-being.


What are the most common causes of allergies that affect sleep?

The most common allergens that disrupt sleep are dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold, and cockroaches. Allergies can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, and watery eyes, making it harder to breathe and get quality sleep. Studies show that over 88% of allergy sufferers have difficulty sleeping, and 72% wake up during the night due to allergy symptoms. Eradicating triggers from your home can help alleviate allergy symptoms and improve sleep quality.

What are some of the symptoms of allergies that can affect sleep?

Allergies can affect sleep by causing a range of symptoms that can disrupt one’s ability to fall and stay asleep. Some common symptoms of allergies that can interfere with sleep include:

  1. Nasal congestion
  2. Sneezing
  3. Watery eyes
  4. Itching
  5. Runny nose
  6. Mucus formation
  7. Increased snoring
  8. Increased sleep apnea risk (OSA can kill you so be aware!)
  9. Insomnia

These symptoms can lead to breathing difficulties, making it harder to get quality sleep. In a recent study, only 17% of allergy patients rated their sleep as optimal, with half of them reporting that allergies and nasal congestion woke them up at night and made it difficult to fall asleep.

Allergy symptoms can also cause daily fatigue, leaving individuals feeling generally unwell and impacting their quality of life. Common types of allergies that can cause sleep disruption include non-stinging insects, fungal growth, pets, and airborne pollen. Overall, allergies can have a significant impact on one’s sleep quality and ability to function during the day.

What is the best way to clean and maintain a mattress to reduce allergy symptoms?

Keeping a clean mattress is important for reducing allergy symptoms and getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Start by choosing a hypoallergenic mattress made of high-quality, dust mite resistant materials such as foam or latex.
  • Use a mattress protector to prevent allergens from accumulating on the surface.
  • Wash bedding with warm water and hypoallergenic laundry detergent, and replace pillowcases and covers regularly.
  • Vacuum the mattress and surrounding area regularly to remove dust and other allergens.
  • If possible, avoid using a ceiling fan in the bedroom and use window blinds instead of curtains to prevent dust buildup.

What are some of the best ways to reduce allergy symptoms caused by pet dander?

If you suffer from allergies caused by pet dander, there are several steps you can take to reduce your symptoms.

  • First, consider keeping your pets out of the bedroom altogether. Pet dander can get into your bedding and hair, causing more allergy symptoms.
  • Second, focus on keeping your bedroom free of allergens by washing your bedding frequently with hot water, using allergy covers on pillows and mattresses, and routinely dusting and vacuuming the floor.
  • Third, eliminate fabrics that harbor dust, pollen, and pet dander, and consider switching out carpeting for tile, vinyl, or wood flooring.
  • Fourth, use an air purifier to reduce allergens that come from pets.

What type of air purifiers are best for reducing allergy symptoms during sleep?

HEPA air purifiers, such as the mod and mod jr. from Oransi, are effective in reducing allergens like dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, and smoke. These air purifiers have a real HEPA filter that can remove 99.6% of airborne allergens, making the air in your home clean and fresh.

The Alen BreatheSmart line of air purifiers emits pink noise, which can contribute to better sleep along with air purification. Research shows that using an air purifier at night can help alleviate allergies during sleep and improve sleep quality, especially for those with allergies.

What type of medication and/or treatments are available to reduce allergy symptoms while sleeping?

There are several medication and treatment options available to help reduce allergy symptoms during sleep.

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines can be effective, but if they don’t work, prescription medications can be prescribed by an allergist.
  • Allergy shots and sublingual immunotherapy are other options that can desensitize the immune system over time, reducing allergic reactions.
  • Other tips to reduce allergy symptoms during sleep include keeping the house closed up, taking a shower before bed, washing out sinuses, keeping pets out of the bedroom, and raising your head while sleeping.

If allergy symptoms persist and affect your sleep and quality of life, it may be time to talk to your doctor about identifying the allergen or allergens causing the concerns and discussing treatment options because lack of sleep may even increase the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What is the best position to sleep in with allergies?

The best sleeping position for people with allergies is to elevate their head. This prevents mucus from pooling in the back of the throat, which can cause congestion and discomfort. Sleeping in an upright position – like in the medieval times – with the head raised is the best position for tackling congestion. It allows mucus to drain out and takes advantage of gravity.

Orthopedic pillows can help encourage side sleeping and prevent snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Sleeping on a wedge pillow can ensure that the head and neck remain elevated, which may help prevent nasal blockages and postnasal drip in the throat.

Keeping the bedroom hypoallergenic by investing in anti-allergy bedding and keeping pets out of the bed can also help improve sleep quality during allergy season.

What helps with allergies at night?

To alleviate allergies at night and improve sleep quality, consider the following tips and techniques: get treated by an allergist, keep your house closed up, take your allergy medication at night, shower before bed, wash out your sinuses, keep your pets in another room, raise your head, change your pillow and mattress, and consider lifestyle changes such as keeping windows closed when pollen counts are high and using air conditioning.


By lezt

Lez Taylor, Founder and CEO of Corala Blanket. She tried every sleep system and trick to conquer her insomnia for good.