woman on her bed blowing her nose into a tissue

Why Are Allergies Worse At Night?

For many people, allergies aren’t just a problem during the day; they’re also their worst enemy at night. 

It’s strange that allergy sufferers’ symptoms get worse at night, turning what should be a peaceful night into a battle against sneezes and snuffles. 

This article goes into detail about the common illnesses that keep a lot of people from being at peace, including allergy symptoms that seem to get worse at night.

Why Do Allergies Seem Worse at Night?

It’s not just your imagination; allergies really can seem worse at night. There are several reasons why this occurs, and understanding them can be key to managing symptoms more effectively.

  • Circadian Rhythm: Your body’s circadian rhythm—or internal clock—affects the production of certain hormones that can influence the severity of allergic reactions. At night, cortisol levels naturally decrease. Since cortisol has anti-inflammatory properties, its reduced presence during the night may lead to more pronounced night allergy symptoms
  • Reclining Position: When you lie down, the gravitational effect on your body changes. This means that mucus may not drain from your nasal passages as effectively as it does when you are upright. This can lead to a greater feeling of congestion and an increase in postnasal drip, which can cause irritation and coughing.
  • Bedroom Allergens: Your sleeping environment might be a hotspot for allergens. Bedding can trap dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, which they have all night to wreak havoc. Being in closer and prolonged contact with these allergens can lead to an escalation in symptoms.
  • Temperature and Humidity Fluctuations: At night, both the temperature and humidity levels can fluctuate, potentially exacerbating allergy symptoms. Cooler night air can irritate sensitive airways, and indoor heating can lower humidity levels, causing dryness in the nasal passages and throat.
  • Late Phase Responses: Allergic reactions happen in two phases—the immediate response and the late phase response. The latter can occur 4 to 8 hours after exposure to allergens, which, for many people, coincides with nighttime.
  • Outdoor Allergens: For those allergic to pollen, the late afternoon and early evening can have higher pollen counts than other times of the day. While the pollen can start to wreak havoc in the evening, you might feel the full effect during the night.

By considering these factors and adapting your evening routine or sleep environment, you might be able to reduce the impact allergies have on your night, leading to better sleep and more comfortable, restful nights.

Student is learning at home and having allergies.

Nighttime Allergy Symptoms

Allergy at night symptoms can manifest differently from person to person, but at night, certain symptoms tend to be more prominent, including:

  • Watery, itchy red eyes: As you retire for the night, your eyes may become more irritated due to the day’s pollutants and allergens trapped in your bedding or floating in the nighttime air.
  • Sneezing: An increased exposure to dust mites or pet dander in your bedroom may trigger a sneezing frenzy, disrupting sleep.
  • Cough: Postnasal drip can worsen when you’re reclined, which may lead to a persistent cough that shakes you awake.
  • Postnasal drip: Gravity’s effect on mucus can be more discernible when you’re lying down, causing discomfort and a bothersome drip.
  • Itchy nose, the roof of the mouth, or throat: Allergens can aggravate nerve endings in the mouth and throat area, especially when horizontal, compounding the itchiness.
  • Eye puffiness or dark circles: Known as “allergic shiners”, these symptoms are exacerbated by poor sleep due to allergy flare-ups, leaving you looking as tired as you feel.

Causes for Nighttime Allergy Symptoms

Nighttime can transform our bedrooms into hotbeds for allergens, intensifying symptoms. By identifying the common triggers that are prominent at night, sufferers can develop strategies to mitigate their effects and reclaim the peace of their night’s rest.

Bedroom Allergens

The secluded environment of a bedroom offers the perfect conditions for dust and mold to accumulate. Dust mites thrive in bedding where skin flakes are plentiful, and the environment is warm and humid. 

Mold prefers damp areas and can often be found around windows or in bathrooms, from where it can spread to adjacent rooms. Regular cleaning, using allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers, and ensuring good ventilation can greatly reduce exposure to these irritants.

Physiological Effects of Reclining

Your body’s response changes when you shift from an upright to a supine position. Lying down can cause the mucus that naturally drains from your sinuses when you’re vertical to pool and create congestion. 

This can lead to a sense of increased pressure and a stuffy or runny nose. Elevating the head with extra pillows or using a bed with an adjustable mattress can help alleviate some of this congestion and improve sleep quality.

Sleeping with Furry Friends

While it’s comforting to have your pet curl up beside you at night, doing so can escalate allergy symptoms if you’re sensitive to pet dander. 

Animal fur and dander can gather on bedding and furniture, exposing people to allergens constantly. For those who are allergic but still want to keep their furry companions close, it might be beneficial to set boundaries, such as placing a pet bed next to yours.

Pollen Transfer Indoors

Pollen has a sneaky way of clinging to clothes, skin, and hair and can be brought into your bedroom without your knowledge. It settles on your surfaces and bedding, waiting to trigger your allergies at night. 

Taking preventative steps like showering before bed and keeping windows closed during high pollen count times can help reduce the amount of pollen you’re exposed to during the night.

Humidifier Usage

Humidifiers are helpful for alleviating dryness in the air, but if not used correctly, they can pose a problem for allergy sufferers. 

Excessive humidity may foster a breeding ground for mold and dust mites. Maintaining a balanced humidity level and regularly cleaning the humidifier will prevent it from becoming a source of allergens.

If you have allergies or asthma, take care and clean your household, beds and couches with high performance water filter vacuum cleaner.

What Nighttime Allergens Can Disrupt Your Sleep?

The quest for uninterrupted sleep and a sneeze-free night begins with recognizing the culprits behind the sniffles and discomfort. Common bedroom allergens, often unseen to the naked eye, can wreak havoc with your sleep, and here’s what to watch out for.

Dust Mites

These microscopic pests are one of the most prevalent indoor allergens. They feed on the dead skin cells humans constantly shed, which means they are usually found in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets. Mitigation strategies include encasing bedding in allergen-impermeable covers and maintaining a clean and dust-free bedroom environment.

Pet Dander

If pet dander is the unseen adversary in your allergy battles, keeping pets out of the bedroom is the simplest solution. Pet dander consists of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds, and other animals with fur or feathers. These allergens are lightweight and can remain airborne for a long time, easily finding their way onto your bedding and into your airways.

Pollen Allergies

Pollen is not just an outdoor allergen; it can be carried indoors on your clothes or hair or by a breeze through an open window. For those sensitive to pollen, ensuring a clean transition from outdoors to bed is key. Aim for a pollen-free bedroom by keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, washing bedding regularly, and using air purifiers with HEPA filters.


Mold spores are another common allergic reaction at night, especially in damp or poorly ventilated environments. Tackling mold requires reducing moisture in the air with dehumidifiers and keeping areas clean and dry. Regular inspections in places like bathrooms, basements, and windows can help nip mold growth in the bud.


Cockroach droppings, saliva, and decaying bodies contain allergenic proteins that can exacerbate allergy symptoms and trigger asthma in sensitive individuals. Ensuring your living space is clean and free of food debris can deter these pests. Sealing cracks and crevices and setting traps can also help reduce your exposure to these unwanted allergens.

How Allergies Impact Sleep

Not only are allergies annoying, but they can also make it very hard to sleep. Having a stuffy nose, sneezing at night, and congestion are all common cold symptoms that can wake you up or make it hard to fall asleep in the first place. 

Also, allergies can make you tired during the day because they mess up your sleep cycle, which can hurt your overall health and productivity. If you don’t do anything about it, chronic sleep problems can cause serious health problems like heart disease, depression, and memory loss.

Sleep Apnea and Allergies

Can allergies happen at night? Well, It might surprise you to discover a link between evening allergies and sleep apnea. 

Sleep apnea is a serious condition characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. Nasal congestion and swelling due to allergies worse at night can exacerbate this problem by creating obstacles in the airway, causing the quality of breathing to deteriorate and potentially leading to episodes of apnea. For those with known sleep apnea, effectively managing allergy attacks at night is crucial.

How to Minimize Nighttime Allergies

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to reduce the impact of nighttime allergies. 

They include:

  • Keeping your bedroom clean and tidy to reduce dust and dander.
  • Wash bedding regularly in hot water to kill dust mites.
  • Investing in hypoallergenic bedding.
  • Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
  • Showering before bed to remove any potential allergens from your body and hair.
  • Keeping pets out of the bedroom.
  • Using a dehumidifier to reduce humidity and inhibit the growth of mold and dust mites.

When to See a Specialist for Nighttime Allergies

While implementing the above suggestions can help, if your symptoms persist, it might be time to seek professional help. If allergies are gravely interfering with your sleep or causing distressing symptoms such as chest tightness, severe shortness of breath, or chronic cough, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. 

Appropriate allergy testing can help identify your specific allergens and a treatment plan can provide relief and improve your sleep quality.

Vacuuming bed. Domestic home cleaning concept. Textile sofa chemical cleaning. Upholstered furniture. Early spring cleaning or regular clean up. Cleaning Service conceptatHome, apartments, hotels

Conclusion: The Fight Against Nighttime Allergies

No matter what time of day it is, allergies can be just as painful at dusk as they are at dawn. Understanding the triggers that intensify allergy symptoms during the night brings us closer to reclaiming the tranquility of our slumber. 

Total Point ER in the Houston Area and Dallas-Fort Worth is your most reliable 24-hour Emergency Room Serving Texas. We are a team of professionals standing ready to assist you in the emergency room for an allergic reaction

Your nights don’t have to be a battleground for breathing and peace; with proactivity and the right help, sleep can once again become a time for rest and rejuvenation.

total point emergency room logo