You wake up after a long night’s sleep hoping to feel all refreshed and looking forward to a good day but the first thing you end up doing is sneezing while your nose runs. Thankfully, a handy box of tissues is right on your nightstand because this is something you’re now used to. You wake up with a runny nose more often than not, but why and what can you do to stop it from happening?
Just because you’re waking up with a stuffy or runny nose doesn’t mean you have a cold, but it does mean you can be suffering from allergies and not just seasonal ones. According to the Sleep Foundation, 40% of Americans suffer from allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, that can become worse at night, leading to poor sleep as it makes your ability to breathe at night more difficult. Healthline reports that a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey found that 74% of Americans are exposed to at least 3-6 allergens per night, exacerbating sleep and making for a morning full of Kleenex.
Are bedroom allergens causing your runny nose?
There are a number of hidden things we don’t even think about when we settle in for a good night’s slumber that can cause allergen-induced nasal issues. For example, your bedroom might be filled with dust mites, but there are ways to reduce them. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation recommends that you wash all bedding weekly in hot water and keep a dust-proof cover over your mattress and pillows. Your curtains might also be covered in dust mites so using blinds over your windows can help. You might also want to opt for laminate or hardwood flooring over wall-to-wall carpeting. If you do have carpet, use a vacuum that has been certified as asthma- and allergy-friendly.
Healthline reports that pollen might also make its way into your bedroom via air conditioning filters in the warmer months, so opening windows can help reduce the pollen. There might also be mold in your home causing breathing issues at night and if so, you’ll need a professional to help remove it. Finally, if you have a pet, your pet might be the culprit. You can lessen pet dander in your home by bathing your furry friend regularly with an anti-allergy shampoo.
Other reasons for a runny nose in the morning
Sometimes it’s not outside influences affecting your breathing while you sleep but instead the goings-on in your own body. According to Healthline, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, could be the reason. While this is primarily a digestive issue, your stomach contents can back up into your nasal passages when you lie down. To help alleviate the problem, sleep with one end of your mattress raised. You also might want to avoid late-night snacks and sleep in pajamas that are loose at the waist.
Finally, hormones play a part in stuffy nose issues for women, specifically pregnant and menstruating women. According to Healthline, 39% of pregnant women suffer from some sort of rhinitis that can be reduced by exercise, using breathing strips on the nose, and clearing out the nose with a Neti pot before going to sleep each night.
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