June 10, 2018
Millions of people suffer from respiratory allergies; when they breathe in, pollen, pet dander, or other substances may cause a whole suite of bad reactions. Sneezing, nasal congestion, and headaches are all common symptoms of allergies — but did you know that they can also have a big impact on the quality of sleep you get at night? Let’s take a moment to examine the connection between allergies and sleep apnea in Cincinnati.
Sleep Apnea and Allergies
Obstructive sleep apnea, often referred to simply as OSA, is a disorder wherein the muscles at the back of the throat over-relax during sleep. These tissues block the airway and cause brief apneas, periods where a person is not breathing. Allergies can exacerbate sleep apnea because nasal congestion narrows the upper airway, thereby increasing the risk that apneas will occur. In some cases, an allergic reaction causes the tonsils or adenoids to swell up and become larger, which can also increase the risk of apneas.
Does this information mean that allergies cause sleep apnea? Not necessarily. However, allergies can make OSA worse for individuals who already suffer from this disorder.
Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
If allergies are making it difficult for you to get the high-quality shuteye you deserve, there may be some things you can do to fight your symptoms and enjoy better sleep:
- Talk to your physician about your problem. They may recommend or prescribe a certain medication to reduce your allergic reactions.
- Identify the cause of your allergies and try to reduce your triggers. For example, if pet dander bothers you, you might have to keep your fur baby out of your bedroom.
- Give your home a deep cleaning. By cleaning behind the furniture, the back of the cupboards, and other places that you don’t reach during your normal routine, you may be able to get rid of dust and other irritants.
- Adjust the humidity levels in your home. Higher humidity helps to relieve stress on the nose and throat tissues.
Sleep Apnea Therapy Can Help Too
Managing your allergies is one way to get a better night’s rest, but you may still need sleep apnea therapy in Cincinnati in order to truly get the most out of your time in dreamland. A simple treatment for OSA that has helped countless individuals is a small oral appliance that gently repositions the jaw at night, allowing for freer airflow. It is a more portable, and oftentimes more comfortable, option than a CPAP machine.
To explore your options for OSA therapy, get in touch with a certified sleep expert who can evaluate your circumstances and recommend a treatment that will bring you relief from your restless nights.
About the Author
Dr. James Striebel is a dentist who has undergone extensive training in dental sleep medicine. He has helped many patients discover better rest via custom-made oral appliances. If you would like to talk to Dr. Striebel about finding relief from OSA, please contact our office at 937-235-8079.
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