Dennis Ledford, MD, recently explained the connection between snoring and allergies in the Tampa Bay Tribune.
“Nasal congestion, one of the major symptoms of allergic nasal disease, contributes significantly to the obstructed air flow that leads to snoring,” wrote Dr. Ledford. “Snoring, in turn, may disrupt the quality or duration of sleep and is associated with a serious medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.”
According to Dr. Ledford, allergy-related snoring is most often associated with chronic or year-round allergies caused by particles found on the bed or in the bedroom. Pet dander and dust mites are the two main culprits. If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom at all times. Invest in allergy bedding and an air purifier for your bedroom to keep dust mite allergen at a minimum.
Additionally, Dr. Ledford offers the following advice concerning allergic rhinitis and snoring:
Snoring is common and usually not a problem, although it is not normal. Snoring that interferes with sleep is a condition requiring medical attention. If your partner or a family member notices that snoring interrupts your breathing while sleeping, you should discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.
Nasal allergy increases congestion and aggravates snoring.
Treating nasal allergies, particularly with topical corticosteroids, will reduce congestion and may improve sleep and minimize snoring.
Limiting exposure to allergens may help reduce nasal congestion and snoring. This is particularly important with year-round allergens, such as indoor dust mite allergens and animal dander.
Oral antihistamines help some allergy symptoms but typically do not improve congestion or snoring.
If you are overweight, losing weight will generally improve snoring.
Snorers should avoid sleeping pills and consuming alcohol close to bedtime, as these agents usually worsen snoring.
Daytime sleepiness, new onset headaches or increasing fatigue with a history of snoring should be discussed with your physician. These could be signs of obstructive sleep apnea.
Dr. Ledford is a professor of medicine and pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at USF Health and the James A. Haley VA Medical Center.