Do your allergies cause snoring? Don’t let that prevent you from enjoying a good night’s sleep! Try these self-care strategies and sleeping tips.
If you’re one of the 19 million people in the United States diagnosed annually with respiratory allergies, your allergic reactions (symptoms) may be a possible cause for your snoring.
Not only does snoring interfere with your sleep, but it can also cause other health problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
The good news is that taking the right steps can help you manage both conditions to get a good night’s rest. Allergies and their relationship with snoring can be frustrating, but there are ways you can reduce symptoms.
This article provides tips to help you get a better night’s sleep when your allergies cause snoring.
It can be stressful and overwhelming when you begin improving your self-care, and many people also feel guilty when they start taking time for themselves. So, I made this free faith-based guide to help you get started. Be sure to grab your Self-care Starter Guide!
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is the vibration sound when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat while you breathe. Snoring occurs most often when you progress from light to deeper sleep because the muscles in your soft palate (the roof of your mouth), tongue, and throat become very relaxed, block your airway, and vibrate as you breathe.
The sound of a snore can be whispery or loud and rumbling, depending on how narrow your airway is and how forceful you breathe. The more narrowed your airway becomes, the more forceful the required airflow. This increases the tissue vibrations, which creates louder snoring.
While we all experience mild snoring now and then, some people experience chronic snoring. Many conditions can cause snoring, and sometimes more than one condition can co-occur. The situations may include:
- Anatomy of Your Mouth: While everyone has the same body parts in their mouth, each part can be a different size and shape. People with large mouth anatomy can experience a nasal obstruction simply by how they were born. Additionally, people who are overweight may have extra or thicker tissues in the back of the throat, narrowing their airways.
- Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcohol relaxes throat muscles.
- Nasal Conditions: Having allergies, a deviated septum, poor muscle tone, chronic nasal congestion, nasal polyps, or chronic sinusitis (a chronic sinus infection).
- Sleep Deprivation: Poor sleep or a lack of sleep is a common cause of snoring.
- Sleeping Position: Sleeping on your back is the most common position that causes snoring because gravity naturally pulls relaxed tissues downward, causing at least a partially blocked airway.
Lifestyle changes or basic self-care strategies will address some of these circumstances, so knowing the cause(s) of your snoring is helpful.
How Do Allergies Cause Snoring?
Allergies occur in your body when your immune system reacts to foreign substances like pollen, pet hair, dust mites, or foods that don’t cause a reaction in most people. Antibodies are produced to tell your body that an allergen is harmful – even though it isn’t.
When you come in contact with that allergen again in the future, your immune system reacts and can cause inflammation in your skin, sinuses, airways, or digestive system.
Allergies cause snoring when the allergens come in contact with your nasal passages when you inhale allergen particles. Inflammation in your sinuses and airways produces uncomfortable symptoms and can be mild to severe. The symptoms can include:
- Itching of the nose, eyes, or roof of the mouth
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Watery eyes
These symptoms lead to snoring because they interfere with your breathing and are worse at night when you lie down because gravity pools secretions and relaxed mouth anatomy in the back of the throat, creating an airway obstruction.
Complications of Snoring – Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Chronic snoring can be more than just mildly annoying. Snoring issues can lead to the following:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- A disruption of your bed partner’s sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Higher risk of medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart conditions, and stroke
Cardinal Symptom of Sleep Apnea
The main symptom of obstructive sleep apnea happens when you experience intermittent periods of not breathing while asleep. Another name for not breathing is apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when your throat muscles relax and block your airway during sleep.
Additional signs and symptoms of OSA include:
- Loud snoring
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by choking or gasping
- Awakening with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Headache in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- High blood pressure
- Mood changes; irritability or depression
- Decreased libido
Self-care Strategies and Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Snoring Problems
Avoiding allergy triggers is the most effective preventive measure allergy sufferers can implement. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible, but other strategies can help. Simple self-care can help you reduce your snoring.
There are different types of self-care, but focusing on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self-care can be beneficial.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, learn to love eating vegetables, and implement self-care to stop eating junk food. Get more activity, and if you hate to exercise, take a daily walk or try tips from this article.
- Find and measure a proper serving size. Weight loss can reduce snoring due to fatty tissue reduction throughout your body, including in the nasal airway.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages at least 3-4 hours before bed.
- Stop eating at least 3-4 hours before bed.
- Work on easy self-care tips to reduce your stress.
- Effectively manage your stress and implement self-care tips to lower your blood pressure.
- Take breaks and get plenty of rest.
- Take more frequent showers if you spend more time outside during warmer weather. Or, consider spending more time outside after rain showers when less pollen is in the air.
- There are multiple apps for snoring and sleep apnea if you have a smartphone. Many are free to trial and, for a nominal fee, offer monitoring of your snoring during light and deep sleep. These apps also provide advice based on the results of the monitoring. In-app training includes how-to videos for mouth exercises scientifically proven to reduce snoring. Check out the apps for Snoring Lab and Snoring Gym.
Need help finding time to take better care of yourself because your allergies cause snoring? Get your FREE copy of the Self-care Starter Guide!
Tips for Better Sleep with Allergies
You can do a few things before bed at night to prevent snoring and improve poor sleep quality when your allergies cause snoring.
- Take a shower before bed. Showering will reduce the pollen and allergens you inhale while you sleep.
- Keep your bedroom as dust-free as possible to minimize exposure. Moving bookshelves, figurines, and other items that collect dust from your room can be beneficial.
- Keep your pets off your bed linens and out of your bedroom if possible.
- Consider using a high-quality air purifier.
- Take your allergy medication at night to ensure the dose remains high during sleep.
- If you spend time outdoors, remove your clothes somewhere other than your bedroom. Place them in a hamper in a bathroom or laundry room. Avoid drying clothes on clotheslines, and use the dryer as much as possible.
- Sleep with your windows closed when possible to keep pollen and allergens outside.
Effective Treatment for Snoring and Sleep Apnea When Allergies Cause Snoring
You can try treating your nasal allergies with over-the-counter medications as a first step. However, combining self-care strategies and medications will likely be most effective in treating your nasal symptoms.
Allergy medications are available in:
- Pill form
- Nasal spray
- Skin cream,
- Shot (injection)
You can buy some over the counter; others are available by prescription.
There are three main types of allergy medications.
- Antihistamines block histamine, a symptom-causing chemical released in your body by your immune system during an allergic reaction.
- Decongestants provide fast and temporary relief of nasal and sinus congestion.
- Corticosteroids relieve allergy symptoms by reducing allergy-related inflammation.
There are many over-the-counter medications available without a prescription. One issue to note is that some allergy medications are known to cause drowsiness, so you should take them cautiously. Additionally, it would be best to be cautious about taking more than one medication at a time.
When to See a Healthcare Provider if Allergies Cause Snoring
If you experience snoring on a chronic basis and it affects your quality of sleep and daily life, it’s always a good idea to see a healthcare provider to help find the severity and cause of your snoring.
A primary care provider can collect your medical history and complete a physical exam.
Depending on the allergens that cause your symptoms (i.e., spring vs. indoor allergens), your provider may recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medications or a combination of OTC and prescription medications.
Depending on the severity of your allergies, your provider may refer you to a specialist for allergy skin testing to see if you would benefit from a series of allergy shots or sublingual allergy drops (under the tongue). Typically these services are provided through an allergist or immunologist doctor, or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat) doctor.
When to See a Healthcare Provider About Sleep Apnea When Allergies Cause Snoring
If you are experiencing chronic snoring that has produced periods of apnea during your sleep, your provider may refer you for a sleep study. A sleep study collects data while you are asleep overnight in a clinic. There are several different kinds of sleep studies, each based on one’s symptoms and the sleep disorder.
Sleep studies are non-invasive, meaning needless sensors and monitors are used. An EEG monitors your sleep stages and the REM and nonREM cycles to identify patterns that disrupt your sleep. A technician runs the test and sends the results to the ordering healthcare provider, and hopefully, within 1-2 weeks, that provider will discuss the results with you.
CPAP therapy may be part of your treatment plan if you are one of the many sufferers of sleep apnea. A CPAP machine is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, and it administers continuous positive airway pressure to keep your airways open while you sleep, so you receive the oxygen you need.
CPAP machines can improve sleep quality and reduce the risk for numerous health issues, including heart disease and stroke.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Exercerbates Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms can flare up when you expose yourself to an allergen. In addition, the effects of allergies may create sleep problems.
For people with seasonal allergic rhinitis, there are times of the year when the allergen count in the air is extremely high, like pollen and mold allergies. People call these times allergy season, but depending on where you live determines the allergy season in your area. Other names for ”having allergies” include the formal diagnosis of allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or seasonal allergies.
Some people have allergy flare-ups even with short, quick exposures. These responses can be especially true for people who are allergic to:
- Pet dander
- Cigarette smoke
- Dust mites
- Fresh cut grass
Allergy flare-ups can produce one symptom or several, sometimes imitating cold-like symptoms.
What Risk Factors Contribute to Snoring?
There are risk factors that can increase your risk of snoring.
Modifiable risk factors include:
- Drinking less alcohol
- Maintaining a healthy weight. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to snore and have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Non-modifiable risk factors include:
- Your mouth anatomy (particularly if you have narrow airway passages)
- Gender. Adult men more commonly snore and have OSA compared to adult women.
Conclusion – When Allergies Cause Snoring
Allergies can make sleeping difficult, but with the right strategies and tactics, they don’t have to stand in the way of achieving restful sleep.
You can effectively manage your allergies with proper self-care and management for snoring and sleep apnea, improving your sleep quality and quality of life.
Don’t forget your FREE Self-care Starter Guide! Get it HERE.
Thanks for reading! Know someone who would benefit from reading this post? Share it on social media!
Ready for more? Here are my latest posts!
- What To Do For Dry Mouth Caused By Allergies
- Allergies Cause High Blood Pressure: How to Lower Your Risk
- How to Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea When Allergies Cause Snoring
- 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Healthcare
- Don’t Fear Scoffers – 3 Ways They Give Us Courage in Ministry
Lisa Kimrey is a 30-year veteran registered nurse, speaker, and author of the Bible study, The Self-care Impact: Motivation and Inspiration for Wellness. At Mylifenurse, Lisa writes about simple ways to care for yourself to stay happy, healthy, and rejuvenated while you serve and care for others. Combining her years of nursing expertise with Scripture-based encouragement, Lisa shows readers easy ways to begin and maintain their self-care journey – without feeling guilty. Be sure to grab your FREE Self-care Starter Guide!