Sept. 19, 2006 -- Hay fever may make it harder to get a good night's sleep.
Allergies affect from 20% to 50% of Americans and occur when pollen or other allergens, such as pet dander or dust, irritate and inflame the nasal passages, causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
Allergies and Sleep Disorders
In the study, French researchers compared the prevalence of sleep disorders and other troubles sleeping in a group of 591 people who were being treated for allergic rhinitis with a similar group of 502 adults without allergic rhinitis.
The results showed that all sleep disorders and sleep-related complaints were much more common in people with allergies than those without.
- 36% of people with allergic rhinitis reported insomnia compared with 16% of those without.
- 42% of those with allergic rhinitis vs. 18% of those without said they had difficulty falling asleep.
- 63% of allergic rhinitis sufferers said they felt like they weren't getting enough sleep compared with 25% of the controls.
Researcher Damien Léger, MD, of Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, and colleagues also found that the severity of sleep disorders and troubles sleeping increased as the severity of symptoms increased. With worsening symptoms, people slept fewer hours, took longer to fall asleep, felt sleepy more often during the day, and found it more necessary to take sedatives.
They say the results, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, suggest that people with allergies should talk with their doctors about any sleeping problems to aid in early detection and treatment of sleep disorders and to improve their quality of life.