Why Are My Allergies Worse at Night?

Many individuals experience worsening allergy symptoms at night, whether mild or severe. In this blog, we will highlight the largest factors contributing to nighttime allergy aggravation and explore some practical tips to alleviate your discomfort.

Understanding Allergies

Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to substances that are typically harmless, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold spores. When exposed to these allergens, the immune system releases chemicals like histamine, triggering symptoms like sneezing, itching, congestion, and watery eyes.

Factors Contributing to Nighttime Allergies

Indoor Allergens

Many indoor allergens, such as dust mites and pet dander, tend to accumulate throughout the day. As we settle down for the night and spend prolonged periods indoors, we become more exposed to these allergens, leading to increased symptoms.

Pollen Levels

While pollen levels are typically lower at night, pollen can still find its way indoors through open windows or on clothing and pets. If you've been outdoors during the day, you may unknowingly bring pollen particles into your home, exacerbating nighttime allergy symptoms.

Dust Mite Activity

Dust mites are microscopic creatures that thrive in warm, humid environments, and they are a common trigger for allergies. In our beds at night, we provide an ideal environment for dust mites to flourish, leading to heightened allergic reactions.

Temperature and Humidity

Changes in temperature and humidity levels can also impact allergy symptoms. Many individuals find that their allergies worsen during the colder months when indoor heating systems are in use. Dry air can irritate the nasal passages, worsening congestion and discomfort.

Circadian Rhythm

Our body's internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, can influence allergy symptoms. Certain immune system functions, including the release of inflammatory chemicals like histamine, may be more active at night which leads to increased allergic responses.

Managing Nighttime Allergies

  1. Maintain a Clean Sleeping Environment: Regularly vacuuming carpets, washing bedding in hot water, and using allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers can help reduce exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens.
  2. Keep Windows Closed: To minimise exposure to outdoor allergens like pollen, keep windows closed at night, especially during peak pollen seasons. Using air purifiers with HEPA filters can also help remove airborne allergens from indoor spaces.
  3. Shower Before Bed: Washing off pollen and other allergens from your skin and hair before bedtime can prevent them from being transferred to your bedding, reducing nighttime allergy symptoms.
  4. Consider Allergy Testing: If your nighttime allergy symptoms persist despite taking preventive measures, consider visiting an Allergy Clinic for comprehensive allergy testing and personalised treatment recommendations.
  5. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If over-the-counter allergy medications fail to provide relief, consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment options. Allergy clinics specialize in diagnosing and managing allergies, offering expertise and tailored solutions to alleviate your symptoms.

When should you consider assistance from an Allergy Clinic?

Here are some questions to ask yourself which may be indicators that it’s time to consult with a specialist:

  • Do your allergy symptoms significantly impact your daily activities?
  • Are you experiencing symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, persistent nasal congestion, or difficulty breathing due to allergies?
  • Have your usual allergy medications stopped providing relief?
  • Is your quality of life affected by your allergies?
  • Do you frequently experience shortness of breath or chest tightness?

If you find that despite implementing various preventive measures, your symptoms persist and interfere with your daily routine, it's crucial to seek professional evaluation. Additionally, if your usual allergy medications no longer provide relief or if your allergies significantly impact your quality of life, it's essential to seek help from an Allergy Clinic. Allergists at these clinics specialise in identifying the underlying triggers of your allergies and devising tailored treatment plans to alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

While nighttime allergies can be bothersome, understanding the factors contributing to their exacerbation and implementing practical strategies can help you find relief.

If your symptoms persist or worsen, don't hesitate to reach out to us today for expert assistance tailored to your specific needs.


1. How can I differentiate between nighttime allergies and other potential causes of symptoms like colds or respiratory infections?

Allergy symptoms typically persist over time and may be triggered by specific allergens, such as pollen or dust mites. The symptoms also often include sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, and watery eyes, whereas cold symptoms may include fever, body aches, and sore throat. Additionally, allergy symptoms tend to worsen in certain environments or seasons, while cold and respiratory symptoms may appear suddenly and improve within a week or two. If unsure, consulting a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management is recommended.

2. Are there specific strategies for managing nighttime allergies in children, especially regarding their sleeping environment and medication options?

Managing nighttime allergies in children requires special attention to their sleeping environment and medication options. To minimise exposure to allergens, it's essential to keep their bedroom clean by vacuuming carpets, washing bedding frequently in hot water, and using allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers. Additionally, keeping windows closed at night and using air purifiers with HEPA filters can help reduce indoor allergens. Regarding medication, children may benefit from over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays under the guidance of a paediatrician. However, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before giving any medication to children, as dosages and formulations may vary based on age and weight.

3. How effective are allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers in reducing nighttime allergy symptoms, and are there specific brands or materials that are more effective than others?

Allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers can be effective in reducing nighttime allergy symptoms by preventing exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens. These covers create a barrier that prevents allergens from penetrating pillows and mattresses, reducing the risk of allergic reactions during sleep. While the effectiveness of these covers may vary depending on the brand and material, products labelled as "allergen-proof" or "hypoallergenic" are generally designed to provide adequate protection. Look for covers made from tightly woven fabric with pore sizes smaller than the allergens you're trying to block, such as dust mites or pet dander. Consulting with an allergist or healthcare professional can also provide guidance on selecting the most suitable covers for your specific allergies and needs.

To schedule a consultation with our experienced ENT specialists and take the first step toward better ear, nose, and throat health, contact us today.

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