Controlling Your Allergies Leads to Better Sleep

By Heather Legg

I recently read about a study that showed that parents with children with allergies report that on the whole, their children are less productive than those children without allergies. So why is this? Are they feeling so lousy that they aren’t able to function in their daily lives? Is their allergy medication taking a toll on their physical and mental well being while controlling their allergies? Are their allergies keeping them from having a good night’s sleep, hence they are exhausted throughout the day and unable to function to the best of their ability?

The research in this survey found:

40 percent of parents indicated that their child’s allergies interfere a lot or somewhat with their sleep compared to 8 percent of parents of children without allergies. Twenty-one percent of the parents of children’s with allergies said the allergies limit their children’s activities, compared with 11 percent of parents of the controls. Forty percent of parents of children with allergic rhinitis — sneezing, itching, nasal congestion and discharge — report their condition interferes with their performance at school compared to 10 percent of parents of children without allergic rhinitis who attribute lower performance at school to health issues.

So in actuality, it is probably a combination of all of the above factors which cause children with allergies to be less productive. But let’s start with sleep. 40 percent compared to 8 percent is a pretty large difference of those getting a good night’s sleep. Anyone knows it is hard to sleep when you are congested, coughing, or otherwise affected by your allergies. On top of that, most of us with allergies are just able to use medication to mask the symptoms, so the medication affects sleep, too. Whether it is a medicine that makes you groggy or one that keeps you awake, sleep won’t be the same as if not medicated.

What is the best way to help those with allergies sleep better, thus have a more productive day? Besides avoiding the allergen as much as possible, here are a few other tips:

• Use Breath Right Nasal Strips to open nasal passages and decrease snoring
• Encase your pillow and mattress in allergy free bedding
• Drink plenty of clear fluids throughout the day to keep your body hydrated
• Make sure you are taking your allergy medicine consistently at the right time of day
• Shower or bathe before bed to rinse any possible allergens of your body
• Use a vaporizer or humidifier (or dehumidifier) and control your air conditioning and heat to make sure your home (especially the bedroom) is at the best temperature and humidity for you and your allergies.

A key to productivity is a good night’s sleep. Do your best to get that even with your allergies, or help your allergic child to sleep well, and see if productivity goes up.

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