Don't Let Hay Fever Ruin Your Sleep - Ashcroft

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Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction in your nose triggered by airborne substances like pollen. It causes symptoms similar to a cold, but unlike a cold, hay fever isn't caused by a virus and isn't contagious.

Understanding Hay Fever

Dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mould spores, and other allergens can cause hay fever, an allergic reaction. Your immune system releases histamine in response to exposure to certain allergens,

which results in the recognisable symptoms of hay fever. In order to diagnose yourself with hay fever, it's important to recognise these signs.

Symptoms of Hay Fever 

Hay fever symptoms include:

  • coughing and sneezing
  • a clogged or runny nose
  • red, watery, or irritated eyes
  • ears, nose, mouth, and throat itching
  • loss of smell
  • discomfort in the forehead and on the sides of your head
  • headache
  • feeling worn out.

Although it can be extremely uncomfortable, hay fever seldom results in life-threatening conditions. Most hay fever sufferers take over-the-counter medications and modify their lifestyle to alleviate their symptoms.

It's important to remember that symptoms can vary from person to person and might not all be present at once. They can also range in severity, from mild annoyance to significantly impacting your daily life.

Ear and sinus infections are more common in those with airborne allergies. You could feel exhausted during the day since hay fever might make it difficult to get sufficient sleep at night. Hay fever has the potential to worsen asthmatic symptoms.

Causes of Hay Fever

Pollen is the most common cause of this allergic reaction, however mould and animal fur can also trigger allergies in certain individuals. You may be allergic to any one of three forms of pollen: weed, grass, or tree pollen.

All of these emit a fine, light pollen that is dispersed by the wind among the plants. Sadly, those who have hay fever frequently find themselves in the midst.

Some plants depend on insects to spread their pollen since their heavy, sticky pollen cannot be dispersed by the wind.

Because it's vividly coloured petals are meant to entice insects, an attractive flower is frequently more likely to be pollinated by insects.

You don't have to be as concerned about these plants when you're outside if you have hay fever.

Is Hay Fever worse at night?

It is common for people with allergies to experience worse symptoms at night. During the nighttime, some hay fever triggers become more prominent. 

There are a few reasons for this:

Dust mites, pet dander, and mould spores can all be more concentrated in your bedroom at night, triggering allergy symptoms.

Sleeping position:

Lying down can worsen congestion because fluid pools in your sinuses.

Nighttime pollen:

In some cases, pollen counts can actually be higher at night, making symptoms worse.

Stagnant Air:

Poor ventilation and stagnant air can lead to increased allergen concentration.

Open Windows:

Keeping windows open allows pollen and other allergens to enter your bedroom.

If you're finding your hay fever is worse at night, there are steps you can take to improve your sleep quality.

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Tips to Ease Hay Fever

A stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing keeping you up at night? Hay fever can be a real drag, especially when it disrupts your sleep. Here are some tips to help ease hay fever symptoms at night:

Keep Windows Closed: Keep windows closed, especially at night when pollen counts are often higher.

Clean Regularly: Dust and vacuum your bedroom regularly to minimise dust mites and pet dander.

Air purifier: Consider using an air purifier with a HEPA filter in your bedroom to trap pollen and other allergens.

Use Hypoallergenic Bedding: Opt for hypoallergenic pillows, mattress covers, and beddings to create a barrier against allergens.

Bedding blitz: Wash your sheets, pillowcases, and duvet cover in hot water once a week to eliminate pollen.
Avoid Outdoor Activities: Try to avoid outdoor activities during peak pollen times, typically early morning or late afternoon.

Shower power: Before bed, wash your hair and body to remove pollen you've picked up outdoors.

Change clothes: Take off the clothes you wore outside and put on fresh pyjamas before getting into bed to minimise allergens.

Head elevation: Prop yourself up with extra pillows to improve drainage and ease congestion.

Petroleum jelly shield: Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly around your nostrils to trap pollen before it enters your nose.

Saline solution salvation: Rinsing your sinuses with a saltwater solution (nasal saline irrigation) before bed can help remove pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages.

Pet dander defence: If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom to minimise exposure to dander.

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Medication Magic

Nighttime antihistamines

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about an antihistamine to take 30 minutes to an hour before bed to prevent allergy symptoms at night.

Types of Antihistamines:

Over-the-counter (OTC):

These are generally readily available from pharmacies without a prescription. Common OTC antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra).

Loratadine (Claritin): This is a popular choice, known for being non-drousy and long-acting (24 hours). It's a good option for daytime and nighttime relief.

Cetirizine (Zyrtec): Another non-drousy option with a long-lasting effect (24-25 hours). It may start working faster than loratadine but can cause drowsiness in some people.

Fexofenadine (Allegra): Non-drowsy and long-acting (24 hours). It can be a good choice if you experience drowsiness with other options.


In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a stronger antihistamine, especially if OTC medications aren't effective.

Desloratadine (Clarinex): Similar to loratadine (longer acting version, 24 hours). May be prescribed if OTC options aren't effective.

Decongestant relief:

If your main symptom is congestion, a decongestant nasal spray or tablets can help open up your airways and ease breathing. But be mindful not to use decongestant nasal sprays for more than a few days in a row, as this can worsen congestion in the long run.

Types of Decongestants:

Oral: Available over-the-counter (OTC) in tablets or liquids. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is a common oral decongestant.

Nasal Sprays: Also available OTC. Examples include oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine).

Nasal Spray for hay fever at Ashcroft Pharmacy:

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