How the Seasons Affect Your Breathing and Ability to Sleep
Summary: This blog gives you a few ideas on how to sleep better at night with allergies, but when allergies are bad, it might be a good idea to consider a CPAP machine to help keep the airways open at night.
Is it fair to blame the weather for the way we breathe? Some people feel that they sleep better in warm weather, and some better in cold. Some people need the window open, others have to have it closed. If the air we breathe changes the way we sleep, then what we breathe should make a difference. It does seem unfair, however, to try to control so much about our lifestyle only to find that environmental factors are outside our control. So how do the seasons affect our ability to sleep?
Certain seasons bring more trouble with stuffed up noses, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Springtime is famous for people with allergies who find it difficult to breathe with pollen and cotton fluff floating in the air. Summer brings no relief from spring allergies, as long as lawns are being mowed or hay is being cut. Allergies can make it worse for people who have difficulties sleeping.
Winter is known as the common cold season, although like allergies, they can come year round. They just seem to last longer in the winter, and spread more easily as well, when we share the cold, dry air with others. Even when a bad cold is finished, people sometimes find themselves wheezing and coughing for weeks afterwards. Allergies occur in the fall and winter as well, so it is hard to say that there is a specific season for allergies. Even if colds are caused by viruses, and not by the weather, or by allergies, it feels as though they should be blamed on the season, and when our sleep is affected it feels the same.
Congestion, stuffiness and allergies do affect sleep. When we breathe something we are allergic to, the allergens cause the nasal passages to swell, and so the passage becomes difficult to breathe through. This makes it even harder to breathe at night, when we are lying down.
If you suffer from allergies that make it harder to breathe, then follow some precautions before you sleep at night. Keep the room that you sleep in cool, dark, and quiet. Don’t bring in cut flowers, or sleep by an open window. Check to see if your laundry detergent or fabric softener is heavily scented, as that might make you sneeze at night too. Change the sheets and pillowcases regularly and wash them often, but avoid using heavily perfumed laundry soap or fabric softener. Ginger tea, or another warming cup of herbal tea, can help loosen congestion before sleeping.
Allergies make it a bit difficult to sleep at night, but it could be more than that. You could have a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is a condition where the airways don't allow the air through while they are relaxed in sleep, and the sleeper wakes to start breathing again. If you feel that your allergies are making a bad problem even worse, consider a CPAP machine to give you a little extra help keeping the airways open at night.