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Why Do My Allergies Get Worse at Nighttime?

Why Do My Allergies Get Worse at Nighttime?

Do you live with the effects of allergies in your life? It's challenging for people with allergies to maintain a normal sense of well-being, especially if they live in areas with high levels of air pollutants.

All types of air pollutants set off allergy attacks, from natural to synthetics, that cause a rise in allergic responses. Organic compounds like smoke and pollen cause severe reactions during certain seasons throughout the year. Industrial pollution and VOCs are gaseous chemicals that also pollute the air inside and outside the home.

Allergy attacks differ in the physiological repose people receive.

The intensity and duration of the attack might be for a few minutes or last for hours. During the day, we come in contact with several allergens that may cause allergic repose. However, many people notice that their allergies get worse at night instead of getting better. Why is that?

This article looks to unpack the information you need to understand why allergy responses worsen in the nighttime.

What Is the Average Allergic Response?

As mentioned, allergic responses differ between individuals, depending on the extent of their condition. Some people experience a severe reaction, while others have a much milder time with allergens.

In most cases, people with mild allergies may notice irritation to their eyes, mild reddening and inflammation, and some tearing. These individuals may also experience symptoms of sneezing and light coughing.

People with severe allergies notice more irritation to the eyes and the skin in general. They may also experience a stuffy sinus and intense watering from the eyes. Sensitive individuals may also begin to develop respiratory issues, and they may start to struggle with breathing.

What are Your Allergy Triggers?

People who suffer from allergies must learn their triggers. Your triggers are the environmental factors causing your allergic reaction. While people with allergies generally have sensitivity to most allergens, they may be more sensitive to some than others.

For example, the affected individual may have a severe allergy to tree pollen and less of an allergic response to VOCs, or vice versa. Learning your triggers is vital to understanding which environments you need to avoid and at what times of the year the allergens are most present in the air.

Are Allergens Present in Your Bedroom?

It might surprise you to learn that the CDC states that air quality levels inside the home are up to five times lower than those outdoors. The reason? We tend to keep the windows and doors to our home shut, especially at night.

As a result, the recirculating air inside the home continues to experience a decline as we use it up with our breathing. However, that's not the only problem with indoor air quality. Peet dander and dust accumulate in the air, carpets, surfaces, and upholstery around the home. As these levels increase in the air, affected individuals may start to notice symptoms of an allergy attack.

During the winter, we may burn fireplaces or gas heaters indoors to stay warm. However, they also release smoke and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air as they burn fuel or wood. All these particles and gases play a role in diminishing the air quality inside the home.

If you're going to bed, then you might have left your bedroom window open during the day. If that's the case, pollen might drift into your room and settle on your bedding and pillow. These particles end up finding their way onto your face and into your lings, causing the onset of an allergy attack.

Some people might allow dust levels to accumulate in their bedroom, developing the ideal conditions for dust mites to spread. Dust mites create even more dust, and they commonly live in the furniture and your bedroom mattress.

Therefore, by going to sleep, you're closing the door of the room and allowing the dust to circulate in the air. As a result, you might feel the onset of allergy symptoms.

Why Do Allergies Feel Worse at Night?

Medical research suggests that the immune response to invading allergens might disrupt the body's normal circadian rhythms, causing sleep disturbances in the affected individuals.

The hormones involved in the management of the sleep/wake cycle also activate in the presence of allergens. As a result, affected individuals may experience an increase in allergy symptoms as the hormonal response drops off as we prepare for sleep.

People who experience allergies at night may notice the following symptoms.

Runny nose

If your nose starts to run, it's going to interrupt your normal breathing. When you can't breathe normally through your nose, it makes it harder to fall asleep at night.

Nasal congestion

When you have a blocked nose, you'll start to feel pressure behind the face as your sinus starts to inflame. Lying down can increase mucus production, and affected individuals should consider falling asleep in a chair or on the couch.


As allergens enter the lungs, they cause irritation and an inflammatory repose. As a result, the affected individual ends up coughing and choking.


Irritation to the sinus and the respiratory system may result in severe sneezing fits in the affected individual.

What are the Environmental Contaminants Responsible for Inducing Allergic Responses?

There are several contaminants inside the home that may lead to the onset of an allergic response. Here are the top culprits for home-based environmental allergens.


Pollen comes from seed-bearing plants and trees across the United States. While the spring and summertime are the top seasons for pollen production, some trees can release pollen in the winter or year-round.

Pollen exposure leads to the development of hay fever in sensitive individuals. Some tree species release heavy amounts of pollen into the air.

The cedar is a prime example. This tree variety releases so much pollen into the air that it causes massive amounts of hay fever in affected areas during the fall and winter. Locals that experience this hay fever reaction call it "cedar fever."

To reduce pollen exposure in the bedroom, keep your windows closed on windy days and during periods of the year when there is excessive pollen in the air. Check with your local Air Quality Index (AQI) for more information about the contaminants in your local air system.


Mold is a big problem in the summer. When the weather warms up, mold spores become active and start spreading through the air.

The wind might bring them into your bedroom, where they settle under the bed or in the back of your closet. If your room is humid and warm, like at night when you're breathing, you provide the ideal conditions for the mold to spread its spores into the air.

To stop mold, you have to know it's there first. We recommend getting an independent test of the air for the rooms inside your home. MI&T offers you an air inspection for your home. We use the latest detection technology to identify the presence of any allergens or mold spores in the air.

To reduce the chances of mold entering your bedroom, keep the windows closed on windy days during the spring and summer.

Pet Dander

If you have pets, they are continually shedding skin cells and fur around the home. These irritants can affect people with allergies. Essentially, pet dander adds more dust and particulate matter to the air in the room. Breathing in dander into your lungs can cause respiratory issues if it's in high concentrations in the air.

To reduce the presence of animal dander in your home, air it out every day. Open the windows and doors and allow the air to move freely through your home. It's also important to note that you should only air out your home on days where the AQI index is green.

Dust and Dust mites

Dust is another severe allergen for sensitive individuals. Dust enters the home through windows, where it accumulates. A dusty home can start triggering allergies in susceptible individuals.

Ensuring that you keep your windows and doors closed during the windy months of the year reduces dust buildup inside the home.

Helpful Tips for Minimizing Nighttime Allergies

As mentioned, monitoring local air quality conditions and closing the doors and windows to your home on low-quality air days goes a long way to reducing nighttime allergies. However, there are a few other useful tips for reducing allergies at night.

Make sure you clean your home at least three times a week. Remember to vacuum the carpets and the upholstery in the bedroom to remove as much dust and dust mites as possible.

Clean your mattress or replace it if it's old. Mattresses are a significant source of dust mites in the bedroom. Look at getting a memory foam model with a mattress cover to keep the dust mites away from your bed.

Install an air conditioner or invest in a portable air purification system for your bedroom.

Buying an air purification system helps filter the particulate matter and gasses out of the air in your room. As a result, you can expect a reduction in the frequency and intensity of your nighttime allergies.