October 19, 2020

Why Are My Allergies Worse In The Morning And At Night?

Do you wake up with morning headaches, congestion, or sniffling? Do you struggle to go to sleep at night because of sneezing and wheezing? If you do experience these things, you’re not alone. In fact, 74% of allergy sufferers say that they wake up during the night due to allergy symptoms. Your case of allergies may have a pattern. Your symptoms tend to go away during the day, but they come back at night, or when you wake up in the morning. You may even notice that your nose is scratchy and eyes are itchy, but the only time you notice this seems to be when you get ready for bed, or just after waking up the next morning. If you have seasonal or environmental allergies, your symptoms may come and go at different times of the day. You may experience worse night allergies, morning allergies, or even both.

Let’s identify the causes of why your allergies are worse in the morning and night, and the steps you can take to prevent and treat your morning or night allergies.

Why are my allergies worse in the morning?

The first thing to do is identify your symptoms. If you wake up with congestion or a sore throat, it’s easy to assume you caught a cold, but these symptoms could also be caused by morning allergies. Figuring out if you have allergies or a cold can be tricky. Try our cold vs allergies quiz to find out for sure. If by lunchtime your allergies seem to have worn off or at least decreased, it might be worth changing your routine to avoid your morning allergy symptoms. 

Causes of morning allergies

  • Dust mites. Sleeping all night long, constantly inhaling the collected dust from our beds is one of the most common reasons people experience worse allergies in the morning. Dust mites love warm, humid spaces like our mattresses. Which is why it’s no surprise that our bedrooms have the highest concentration of dust mites. Dust mites are one common trigger for worse allergies in the morning or at night. Many people are allergic to these microscopic bugs, which can be found in house dust and eat the skin cells that people shed. Although dust mites don’t bite or spread disease, their shed body parts or droppings can trigger night allergy symptoms. 
  • Perfume or cologne. It may not seem like the most obvious cause of your allergies in the morning, but irritants in the air can be the cause of your morning allergies. In the morning, getting ready for the day is typically finished off with a few spritzes of perfume or cologne. Sometimes strong scents can irritate your nasal passages and lungs, resulting in symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It could even be from someone else around with you wearing strong perfume or cologne that triggers worse allergies in the morning. 
  • Smoke. Smoking right away or being around smoke when you wake up can bring on allergy symptoms that last throughout the morning. 
  • Pollen is one of the biggest outdoor causes of morning allergies because pollen counts are typically highest from early to mid-morning. So if the first thing you do in the morning is workout outdoors, walk your dog, or open your windows and doors, it could be causing your allergies to skyrocket. 
  • Night allergens. There's no better way to start your day than by having a better night's sleep. Spending all night snuggled up with allergens such as dust, mold, or pet dander can start your morning off on the wrong foot. See more on how to reduce exposure to these allergens below. 

Symptoms of morning allergies include:

  • Runny, itchy, or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, red, or watery eyes
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Morning headache, caused by nasal congestion and inflammation
  • Sore throat
  • Post-nasal drip

Preventing morning allergies

  • Check your local pollen count daily. Adjust your schedule accordingly so that you're not outside during high counts that increase your morning allergies, especially during the mornings, on windy days, or in the afternoons after humidity picks up.

  • If you suffer from morning allergies, using heating and air conditioning with a premium air filter can help reduce the symptoms at night or when you wake up in the morning.

  • Try to exercise in the afternoon or early evening. Especially if pollen counts are high, you don’t want to exacerbate your morning allergies with a jog outside. If you can’t fit in any outdoor activity, try yoga or some other indoor workout that won’t expose you to allergens.

  • Clean your home frequently. Allergens such as dust and pet dander can collect throughout your home. Try dusting and vacuuming at least once a week to eliminate dust buildup. 

  • Invest in a HEPA air purifier for your bedroom. Whether you suffer from seasonal allergies or year-round allergies, investing in a HEPA air purifier can help you breathe easier. By removing allergens from the air before you can breathe them in, an air purifier is great at reducing your daily morning allergy symptoms.

  • Get an allergy test. At Aspire Allergy & Sinus, we test for up to 58 different allergens, including dust, mold, and pet dander! We will help you prevent your morning allergy symptoms by giving you insights into what’s causing your allergies so that you can start avoiding and treating them.

  • Close windows and doors. Even if you love a little morning breeze, pollen can enter through your windows and doors and worsen morning allergies. Close them to keep pollen out and make mornings easier for you.

Why are my allergies worse at night? 

Understanding what triggers are around you will help you prevent worse allergies at night. You may spend the day with few or no allergy symptoms, only to experience sniffles and itchy eyes when you go to bed. Many allergy symptoms arise in the night because you’re spending more time in your bedroom, which can contain many allergy triggers. Let’s explore why the causes of why your allergies may be worse at night:

Causes of night allergies

  • Lying down. Yep, the cause of your night allergies could be something as simple as lying down. Here’s why. When we lie down at night, it can increase the blood flow to your head, causing your nasal passages to swell, leading to congestion that makes you feel like you can’t breathe.

  • Pet allergies. You might experience worse allergies at night due to your furry friends. Pet dander can cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis in many people. If they’re sleeping in your bed, they’re definitely leaving traces of pet dander in there as well. Inhaling this isn’t great for your night allergies. It may also be triggered by caged pets that are kept in the bedroom, such as a gerbil or a guinea pig.

  • Cockroaches. Cockroach allergies are gross to think about, but they might be the cause of your night allergies. Unfortunately, cockroaches may be another possible cause of nighttime allergies, especially in urban homes. Like dust mites, they can shed saliva, feces, and even body parts that trigger allergy symptoms. They can even cause sinus or ear infections. According to the ACAAI, the National Pest Management Association says that 63 percent of all U.S. homes contain cockroach allergens, but this number may be 78 percent to 98 percent in urban areas.

  • Pollen. Common pollen such as grass, tree, or weed pollen can be stuck in your bedroom as well. Pollen is a sticky substance that can get stuck in your hair, eyelashes, shoes, and clothing. Especially if you sleep in the clothes you’ve been outside in. 
  • Mold. Indoor mold is another potential trigger for night allergies. Mold can be found in areas such as the basement and bedrooms. Mold is a fast-growing allergen, and most of the time it is hidden in the home—it can even be hidden in your walls! This can cause awful allergy symptoms and even black mold poisoning. Since mold thrives in damp areas, it can become a problem if your bedroom is near a bathroom or another location with mold growth.

Symptoms of night allergies include

  • Increased congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Allergy fatigue
  • Allergy headaches

Prevention of night allergies

  • Keep your head elevated. To help alleviate nightly congestion, try elevating your head with a couple of pillows. Getting the blood flow back to your heart will help you breathe better in the middle of the night and decrease any night allergy symptoms.

  • Keep pets out of the bedroom. Since pets can be the cause of both your morning and night allergies, you’ll want to keep them off the bed and out of the bedroom. Move pet cages to another room in the home. If being away from your pets is too difficult for you, consider a long-term allergy treatment like allergy drops or allergy shots

  • Wash bedding in hot, soapy water at least once a week. Be sure to wash your laundry in hot water to kill dust mites and other allergens that may be hiding in your linens. 

  • Pest control. If you suspect your night allergies might be due to cockroaches or other pests, it might be helpful to have a form of pest control, especially in your bedroom. 

  • Air purifier. An air purifier in the bedroom works wonders for both morning and night allergies, as it works all night long to decrease the allergens in the air. You get a better night's sleep and start the day without allergies! 

  • Shower before going to bed. Showering all the pollen off is a great way to begin your allergy-free night routine. 

  • Dehumidifier for mold. A dehumidifier can help decrease mold growth, especially in your bedroom. If you’re doing everything and still facing night allergy symptoms, consider getting your home inspected for mold. Clean damp areas regularly, fix any leaks or openings and address any mold growth in the home. Be sure to keep your dehumidifier set below 50% to get its full effects. 

Treatment for morning and night allergies

Morning allergies and night allergies oftentimes share similar symptoms, so many treatments are also similar. Short-term night allergy treatments include:

  • Antihistamines are used to treat the symptoms of allergies and hay fever. They work by relieving itching and congestion caused by histamine, a chemical produced by the body during an allergic reaction. These are not a cure for the condition, but they provide relief from uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Intranasal corticosteroids help reduce inflammation in the nose and sinuses, which helps loosen congestion and improve breathing for people with allergies, colds, and other respiratory diseases.
  • Eye drops. Caring for dry, itchy eyes can be one of the most painful parts of allergy season. By applying a few drops of these eye drops every morning, you can begin to experience relief from your morning allergy symptoms that are keeping you from enjoying your day.

  •  Oral or nasal decongestants such as neti pots or sinus rinses can help address nasal congestion, stuffiness, and sinus pressure that are often found with night allergies. Less congestion means you can breathe better, so you won’t have to worry about uncomfortable breathing problems while trying to sleep. 

If you have allergies in the morning and night that prevent you from getting the most out of your day, it might be time to look into long-term allergy solutions that can help resolve your morning and night allergies. These include:

  • ExACT Immunoplasty is an alternative to allergy shots that has been shown to provide significant relief from morning allergies over a shorter period of time. With just three injections given over an eight-week period, ExACT immunotherapy delivers the same amount of relief as three years of traditional allergy immunotherapy. 

  • Allergy drops are a form of sublingual immunotherapy. Allergy drops are different from other over-the-counter medications because we make them for your specialized allergy needs. Allergy drops are a convenient morning allergy treatment of just three drops a day! 

  • Allergy shots are a form of Subcutaneous Immunotherapy. Allergy shots are a safe and effective way to treat your morning allergies. Injected gradually, allergy shots immunize the body against specific allergies.

How Aspire Allergy & Sinus can help your morning and night allergies

We understand how important it is to start and end the day on a good note. It can be especially hard to do that when you’re suffering from morning and night allergies. Not only do they interrupt your daily life, but they also disrupt your quality of life. Let us help you get your daily life back, without having to worry about headaches or congestion. At Aspire Allergy & Sinus our team of experts are ready to help you conquer your morning and night allergies with convenient and specialized treatments. Book your appointment online today and get your life back! 

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