Does Spring Affect My Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by breathing interruptions during sleep. The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, arises from physical blockages in the airway – often caused when soft tissue of the throat “collapses” while at rest.
In any form, sleep apnea can contribute to snoring and more serious problems. It often reduces quality of sleep by leading to a number of “micro-wake” periods throughout the night. Sufferers may find they have difficulty getting enough rest.
Over time, sleep apnea can lead to other sleeping disorders and to chronic conditions that are caused or worsened by an overall lack of deep sleep. In addition, sufferers may be at greater risk of a devastating traffic or workplace accident.
Many people who deal with moderate or severe seasonal allergies find that their sleep apnea worsens when allergy season rolls around. It’s not your imagination: Congestion in the nasal passages and upper airway can aggravate sleep apnea.
The Relationship Between Allergies and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be worsened by any factor that causes the airways to constrict. Allergies not only contribute to that, but also lead to the production of additional mucus. This leads to a cycle that can include inflammation, post-nasal drip, and a wide range of other issues.
Many people don’t even realize they have sleep apnea and might struggle with the issue for a long time before seeing a doctor. Since snoring and other signs affiliated with the condition become more noticeable in allergy season, bedroom partners may be more likely to spot the problem.
At-Home Treatment for Allergy Complications & Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, it’s a good idea to consult with a specialist who can help you get to the root cause. However, there are several methods you can use at home to reduce the severity of your symptoms. Including:
Reducing Allergen Exposure
Curbing exposure to allergens as much as possible is your best bet when it comes to controlling allergies. If possible, try to avoid being outdoors in the early morning, when pollen count is highest. Also be cautious of windy days, which aggravate symptoms.
Clean Clothes and Bedding
Transferring pollen from the outdoors into the home is one of the biggest hazards that can make the season harder to bear. You might want to store shoes outside or away from your living area, regularly launder clothes you’ve worn outside, and change bedding more often than usual.
Using a Humidifier
A humidifier helps with allergies by soothing sinus passages and preventing them from being irritated by dry indoor air. Dryness can also cause chapped lips, dry skin, and other issues that reduce comfort. Be sure to keep your humidifier clean to improve its effects.
Antihistamines are a category of medication widely available over the counter. They impede the action of histamines, an immune system chemical that attaches to cells to expel allergens – and also gives rise to allergy symptoms. You can usually use antihistamines regularly if taken as directed.
Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
Whenever you’re facing sleep problems from any source, it’s important to remain on a regular sleep schedule. Although it may be difficult, taking antihistamines shortly before bed can help. So can other soothing routines such as drinking tea or taking a hot shower.
Although allergies are typically a long-term or permanent condition, sleep apnea can be treated in a variety of ways. A CPAP mask can dramatically improve quality of sleep or surgery can remove the source of obstructive sleep apnea.
For help with sleep apnea, call or visit ENT Centers of Excellence today.