This week marks the first day of spring! Unfortunately for millions of Americans who suffer from allergies, the start of the spring season can also mean the start of symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy watery eyes and itching of the nose or throat.
While some allergy sufferers think they are only affected by these symptoms during the day, the truth is that allergy symptoms can impact quality of sleep, as well. It’s something I often see with my patients – allergies are a 24/7 problem.
In fact, a recent social experiment found that allergy sufferers had a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep than people without allergies. Allergy symptoms were the top factor that negatively impacted the sleep of these allergy sufferers—even more so than stress, discomfort, temperature or work. In addition, allergy sufferers woke up more often than people without allergies. Specifically, the experiment found that an allergy sufferer could wake up nearly 100 times in a single night—4 times more than the average for people without allergies.
In turn, allergy sufferers were also less rested and less physically active the next day. For example, allergy sufferers traveled an average of 3.16 miles while active, while people without allergies traveled 3.35 miles. That equates to 69 fewer miles per year—the distance of approximately two and a half marathons.
I find that many allergy sufferers are so used to their symptoms that they don’t even realize how much they could be impacting their day-to-day lives. But the results of this social experiment should serve as a wake-up call. If your allergy symptoms aren’t under control, it’s time to educate yourself about your triggers and to find a treatment that works for you, so you can get a better night’s sleep and wake up ready to take on the day.
For my patients, I often recommend antihistamines that offer 24-hour relief, allowing them to manage their allergy symptoms all night and all day. If you have any questions about your allergies or treatment options, I encourage you to talk to your doctor for more information.
About the Social Experiment
This social experiment was sponsored by Sanofi Consumer Healthcare and conducted by Russell Research. It used wearable devices to assess the sleep patterns and activities of 160 participants (80 allergy sufferers and 80 non-sufferers) for 30 consecutive days between October and December 2016. During the experiment, participants also completed a daily survey to track perceptions of their allergy symptoms (for the 80 allergy sufferers), sleep patterns and activities, as a way to provide additional context for the wearable device data. For the purposes of the experiment, allergy sufferers are defined as those who suffer from moderate or severe indoor and outdoor allergies in the fall or year round, and who take allergy medication 2 days per week or less.