Snoring and Allergies: Nothing to Lose Sleep Over

Do you snore? If so, this problem is probably keeping you from getting some quality rest. The fact is that people who snore may wake themselves (and their parner, too) multiple times during the night. Such constant waking can prevent the body from going into "REM sleep, which is the deep stage of sleep that allows you to feel truly rested in the morning. As a result, you could find yourself feeling extremely tired the next day.  But if you think allergies are to blame for the situation, you might be surprised to find out you're wrong.

A study published in the Archive of Otolaryngology in December of 2008 reveals that nasal obstruction, not allergies, may actually be the cause of snoring and the poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness that often goes along with it.

To come to this conclusion, researchers from the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Japan looked at questionnaires filled out by a group of industrial workers and determined that those who experienced nasal obstruction in the preceding month were likely to snore, regardless of whether they suffered from allergies or not. This same group with nasal obstruction also reported a variety of other related symptoms, including headaches and difficulty concentrating.

Also worth noting is the that people with allergic rhinitis didn't answer the questionnaires any differently from a control group of respondents who don't snore or have allergies, further confirming their theory it's the nasal obstruction itself that leads to the sleep problems, rather than it being directly caused by an allergic response.

What You Should Know about Snoring and Allergies

What this means for you is that if you snore, regardless of the reason, your quality of sleep will likely be compromised and you could find yourself waking up frequently. The main thing, then, is to figure out how to find some relief.

One way to help you get some much-needed sleep is to determine the cause of your nasal obstruction and how best to address it. If you think that allergies are the catalyst for the nasal congestion, then certainly controlling your environment by allergy-proofing your bedroom and taking other steps to eliminate your triggers will be key. You may also want to try allergy medications or other treatments to relieve any blockages in your nasal passages.

It's also important to rule out sleep apnea, which is a condition that can interrupt your breathing while you sleep. Your doctor can help to determine if you could be at risk for this serious problem and if so, how best to treat it.


Archives of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery