Sleep and allergy….I never would have known the connection. Sleep is important for all persons in promoting physical and mental health. High-quality sleep is crucial for learning and effective development in children. Believe me, when I don’t sleep well, I become a scrooge or a troll and usually somewhere in-between. Just ask my wife if you don’t believe me. Looks like that happened to Shaq as well.
So what’s the big deal about not enough sleep?
- Deprivation in sleep can alter immune function in healthy subjects
- Sleep deprivation alters wound healing in animal models
- Sleep works because adequate amounts of sleep enhance the secretion of melatonin which in turn improves the immune response.
- Sleep also enhances the secretion of growth hormone, which promotes wound healing.
So now that you know WHY sleep is important, is sleep deprivation really that important? According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, sleep disturbance is very important as an indicator of poor control of allergy and has relevance for a patient’s daytime functioning and overall quality of life.
Treating your allergies and sinus congestion will most likely improve sleep-disordered breathing events, including apnea, hypopnea, and snoring. The most recent summary of Sleep and Allergic disease can be found here—Sleep and allergic disease: A summary of the literature and future directions for research. Here’s the abstract for your review:
Atopic diseases, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, are
common conditions that can influence sleep and subsequent
daytime functioning. Children and patients with allergic
conditions from ethnic minority groups might be particularly
vulnerable to poor sleep and compromised daytime functioning
because of the prevalence of these illnesses in these groups and
the high level of morbidity. Research over the past 10 years has
shed light on the pathophysiologic mechanisms (eg,
inflammatory mediators) involved in many atopic diseases that
can underlie sleep disruptions as a consequence of the presence
of nocturnal symptoms. Associations between nocturnal
symptoms and sleep and poorer quality of life as a result of
missed sleep have been demonstrated across studies. Patients
with severe illness and poor control appear to bear the most
burden in terms of sleep impairment. Sleep-disordered
breathing is also more common in patients with allergic
diseases. Upper and lower airway resistance can increase the
risk for sleep-disordered breathing events. In patients with
allergic rhinitis, nasal congestion is a risk factor for apnea and
snoring. Finally, consistent and appropriate use of medications
can minimize nocturnal asthma or allergic symptoms that might
disrupt sleep. Despite these advances, there is much room for
improvement in this area. A summary of the sleep and allergic
disease literature is reviewed, with methodological, conceptual,
and clinical suggestions presented for future research. (J Allergy
Clin Immunol 2012;130:1275-81.)