Sleeping with Sinus Issues & Allergies in Denver
Getting good sleep is essential. When sinus issues and allergies cause difficulty sleeping, your health and daily life suffer. Our sinus and allergy experts will get to the bottom of your sleeping troubles, so you can get back to quality sleep with no disturbances.
Can Sinus Issues Cause Difficulty Sleeping?
We all know sinus issues and symptoms can cause discomfort, but they can also lead to difficulty sleeping, or even serious insomnia. Nasal congestion, usually a stuffy or runny nose due to excessive mucus production, can be caused by various sinus issues including nasal polyps, enlarged turbinates and deviated septum. Laying down flat and sleeping naturally relaxes the muscles in your throat and causes mucus to pool in the nasal cavities, leading to which congestion can lead to coughing, trouble breathing, snoring, or even more serious – sleep apnea.
When the inflammation and irritation in the sinus airways become a troublesome infection, this is termed Sinusitis. Sinusitis is caused and worsened by swelling in the nasal air passages, often leading to pain or pressure around the nose, eyes, cheeks or forehead. These symptoms of sinus issues and swelling can make getting a restful night’s sleep nearly impossible.
If you are having difficulty sleeping along with symptoms of a sinus issue or sinusitis infection, you may also experience the following:
- Sore throat
- Sleep apnea
- Nasal or facial pressure
Can Allergies Cause Insomnia?
Suffering from allergies, also termed allergic rhinitis, can cause breathing issues and other frustrating symptoms that lead to trouble sleeping when severe. Allergens such as dust, pollen, pet dander and mold can easily linger in the air and on surfaces in the home or bedroom. If you are sensitive to an allergen or irritant, exposure can trigger the body’s production of histamine chemicals as a response. These histamines are what cause symptoms like uncomfortable itching and sneezing, which can make relaxing and falling asleep difficult.
The symptoms of allergies that most commonly lead to sleeping problems are the inflammation and excessive mucus that also stem from the body’s histamine response. This often leads to a stuffy or runny nose, a dry or swollen throat, and other symptoms that make it very difficult to breathe easily while asleep. The inflammation and mucus caused by year-round or seasonal allergies can contribute to snoring while asleep. It can even worsen sleep apnea, a condition where the sleeper momentarily stops breathing throughout the night.
If your insomnia and sleeping problems are connected to allergies, you may also experience:
- Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- Dry mouth or scratchy throat
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
– What Our Patients Say –
“For my whole life I had trouble breathing 24/7, a zombie from bad sleep. This [balloon sinuplasty] surgery was life changing. Every day is perfect breathing in both nostrils now. Probably the best decision I have ever made. Big thanks to Dr. Menachof. ” – Christopher L.
Daytime Effects of Sinus & Allergy Induced Insomnia
Sinus and allergy issues can both lead to difficulty sleeping, which has serious side effects on a person’s life during the day. Without restful sleep during the night the body is unable to recharge and recuperate. While in the short term this isn’t always a problem, having insomnia or sleeping issues for an extended time can negatively affect everything in your daily life from your energy and motivation, to your mental and physical health.
Your body relies on the hours of being shut down to convert calories into energy and refresh the brain. When allergies or sinusitis get in the way of good sleep, you can wind up feeling stressed, flustered, foggy and exhausted. It can be harder to get things done and to enjoy the usual activities because your mind isn’t processing at full capacity. You may not even realize that lack of quality sleep is the underlying reason for stress or tension in your life and body. Being continually stressed or tense as a result of poor sleep can lead to serious health risks like high blood pressure.
How to Sleep with Sinus Issues
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Adjusting certain aspects of your nightly routine can help reduce the symptoms that are making it difficult to sleep. It’s important to avoid both alcohol and caffeine before going to bed. Alcohol may seem like a good idea to help you sleep, but alcohol, and wine specifically, can actually make you more congested and contribute to your sinus pain or pressure. Experts recommend cutting off before 2:00 pm if you have any trouble sleeping. Caffeine also makes you dehydrated which can aggravate the sinuses and throat, worsening symptoms.
Each patient is different, and the best way to treat sinus problems causing sleep issues will depend on the type and severity of the problem. Some non-surgical options that can be used for certain nasal problems include topical steroids and nasal saline irrigation. These treatments may be on more minor sinus issues, or if the issue has escalated to infection or sinusitis. A combination of these treatments is often found to be most effective.
When sinus infections or issues become a problematic part of your life consistently, a doctor may want to consider a surgical procedure to help eliminate these sinus issues more permanently. A balloon sinuplasty is a procedure that widens the sinus airways to make blockages less likely and help air flow freely through the nasal passages. Patients who complete a balloon sinuplasty have often had sinus issues for years, and after the procedure usually report decreased sinus infections, less fatigue, and better sleep among other positive outcomes.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Sinus issues can aggravate sleep apnea, a condition where the relaxation of the throat muscles during sleep causes the airways to become blocked. This happens most frequently when breathing through the mouth, which is why a stuffy or swollen nose can make the condition worse. If sleep apnea is diagnosed as an underlying or contributing cause of your difficulty sleeping, a CPAP therapy mask may be recommended to help open the airways and allow for restful sleep.
How to Sleep with Allergies
There are several different things you can do at home to minimize allergies affecting your sleep at night. A clean home, room, and bed is important to maintain in order to reduce pollen, dust and pet dander from lingering in the air and on surfaces. Keep the home closed up if possible, bringing only filtered air into the house and keeping windows shut during the daytime especially. One of the best steps you can take is to make your room and bed a pet-free zone, particularly if your pet goes outside. Even if you don’t have a pet allergy, pollen and dust cling to fur and it’s best to keep those irritants out of your room.
Showering before you get into bed is another great way to make sure allergens don’t come into bed with you. This can also be relaxing which can help release stress and tension before trying to fall asleep. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends avoiding stressful activities before bed to help with insomnia, as well as setting a routine sleep schedule to get better sleep. Adding a humidifier to the home and bedroom can also help keep moisture in the air to reduce the dryness that causes irritation.
Oral Allergy Medications
Allergy medicines such as oral antihistamines can block the body’s histamine reaction and help reduce allergy symptoms for a period of time. For those with sleeping issues due to allergies, experts recommend taking these allergy medications at night, before bed. Allergy symptoms tend to peak in the morning, with sneezing, stuffy nose, and itchy eyes often flaring up just after waking. Taking the allergy pill at night will ensure that it is circulating in your bloodstream at the most crucial time when you wake up.
One of the best ways to stop allergies at the source and improve symptoms all around is to take daily allergy drops under the tongue. This is also called sublingual immunotherapy, which involves taking a few drops each day of a customized formula designed to combat your specific allergies. An allergy test can easily and accurately determine which allergies you are sensitive to. Allergy drops are just as effective as allergy shots but do not require monthly office visits and instead can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Sleep Soundly Again with Help from ENT Experts
Your brain and body rely on good sleep to function well. Our experts know how to diagnose and treat the sinus and allergy issues at the source of your sleeping problems, so you can find your way back to restful sleep. Don’t settle for feeling tired and stressed during the day because of your trouble sleeping at night. Get help from the specialists at Advanced ENT & Allergy Center to get a good full night’s sleep.