I suffer from spring allergies, and my partner says my snoring gets worse when my allergies flare up. Is there a connection, and can I do anything about it?
A. Allergies that cause nasal congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose (what doctors call allergic rhinitis) can definitely cause more frequent and louder snoring. In fact, allergic rhinitis is a common but under-recognized contributor to poor sleep quality. Also, people with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. This can lead to daytime drowsiness, fatigue, and sometimes impaired mood and memory.
Treating allergic rhinitis can successfully reduce snoring and decrease other symptoms related to poor-quality sleep. Usually, I recommend a combination of a nasal steroid spray and a non-sedating antihistamine. However, your concern seems to be related to sleep, so a dose of the older antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) might be helpful. Be careful with decongestants. Some people find that even low doses, such as oral pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), keep them awake at night.
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