When your nose is stopped up and you start breathing through your mouth, it can irritate your throat. You’re also more likely to snore – which may disturb your bed partner, too. If you have sleep apnea, congestion makes it worse.
Alternaria. Aspergillus. Cladosporium. Penicillium. Unless you have a special fondness for fungi, you’re probably not too familiar with these or any of the thousands of other common molds.
But if you’re among the estimated 5% of Americans who have mold allergies, you may be all too well acquainted with the itchy eyes, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, and other symptoms mold allergies can cause. Severe mold allergies can even trigger potentially dangerous asthma attacks.
Allergies can also cause headaches and even wheezing at night. And then there’s postnasal drip -- when mucus drips down the back of your throat, it can cause you to cough. Just when you were finally dropping off…
But you don’t have to take all this lying down, so to speak.
How to Control Allergies and Get Some Sleep
The first thing to do is to identify you allergy triggers and avoid them.. things like dust mites, pet dander, or pollen.
Get hypoallergenic pillows and bedding. Pillow and mattress covers may help.
If you have pets in the bedroom or bed, consider finding someplace else for Fido or Kitty to nap.
Check your home's heating and air system and consider an upgrade with better air filtration, if needed.
Vacuum carpets and furniture regularly. Newer vacuums are much better at actually capturing allergens and not just kicking them up in the air.
If you use a humidifier, change the water regularly, so mold doesn’t grow.
If that doesn’t work, some over-the-counter and prescription treatments include:
Saline nasal flushes. This is a drug-free way to relieve congestion. The effects may not last long.
Nasal decongestant sprays. These sprays can help clear your nose, but you should not use them for more than 3 days. Using them longer can actually make you more stopped up.
Nasal decongestant pills or liquids. These also work well and can provide long-lasting relief, but you may not want to use them at night. Some can keep you awake, especially those with pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.