Thursday, March 17

Do allergies make snoring worse?

Is it true that allergens aggravate snoring?

If your sleeping companion claims that your snoring gets worse when your allergies flare-up in the spring. Is there a link, and if so, what can you do about it?

A. Allergies that produce nasal congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose (also known as allergic rhinitis) can cause snoring to become more frequent and louder. Allergic rhinitis, in fact, is a prevalent but under-recognized cause of poor sleep quality. Sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea, are more common in patients with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis. This can cause daytime drowsiness, weariness, and mood and memory problems.

Allergic rhinitis can be successfully treated to minimize snoring and other symptoms associated with poor sleep quality. I usually prescribe a nasal steroid spray together with a non-sedating antihistamine. However, since your issue appears to be sleep-related, a dose of the older antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be beneficial. Decongestants should be used with caution. Even low doses of oral pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), for example, keep some people up at night.

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