Fall Allergies and Your Sleep

For many people, seasonal allergies begin and end in the spring.  At that time, pollen is all over your car and you’re miserable for a few weeks before it all ends.  For others, though, each season brings a different challenge, and autumn is almost as bad as spring.

According to WebMD, “fall allergy triggers are different, but they can cause just as many symptoms as in spring and summer.”  The medical website says the most common problem is ragweed pollen, followed by mold and dust mites. 

So, what can you do to ensure you’re able to breathe, and get a good night’s sleep?  Here are five tips:

  • Take a shower. Try taking a shower right before bed.  It will wash the pollen out of your hair and off of your body, making for a more pollen-free bed.
  • Wash your sheets and vacuum. Try running a vacuum in your bedroom each night, and wash your sheets more frequently than usual.
  • Use newer allergy medications. The newer allergy medicines like Claritin, Zertec and Allegra don’t generally interfere with your sleep.  If possible, avoid the versions of these medications that have a “D” by their name, as they include Pseudoephedrine, a medicine that does tend to either make people sleepy or wake them up.
  • Don’t reach for the Benadryl. Benadryl is a strong antihistamine that many people use to treat allergies. It also has the side effect of making you very sleepy. It works so well in making people sleepy, in fact, that some find they can no longer fall asleep without it.  It’s best not to start down that road unless directed by a doctor.
  • Clean your heating vents and change the filter. It’s a good idea to get everything cleaned out before running your heat, because bits of pollen and other allergens can get trapped in there during the summer.

Here’s a bonus tip: If you’re in an area where you have to rake leaves, wear a mask while doing this chore.  When you rake the leaves, pollen and mold spores can be stirred up and inhaled.