Allergy-Linked Fatigue May Stem From Nasal Congestion, Interrupted Sleep

July 14, 1998

HERSHEY, Penn. -- New research from Penn State's College of Medicine finds that people with perennial allergies may attribute their daytime fatigue to causes such as the side effects of medications, when, in fact, the fatigue may be a result of nasal congestion and associated sleep fragmentation.

"We treated the subjects with topical nasal corticosteriod. A few sprays on each side improved night time sleep and reduced daytime fatigue," explains the study's lead author, Timothy Craig, D.O., associate professor of medicine at Penn State's College of Medicine.

"Unlike steroids you get by injection or orally, this has very few adverse side effects," adds Craig, also an allergist/immunologist with the Penn State Geisinger Health System.

Approximately 15 to 20 percent of the population in the United States suffer from allergic rhinitis (AR), more commonly known as hay fever. The two-month study involved 20 patients. All the patients were perennial allergy suffers. Subjects with only seasonal allergies, known sleep apnea or other respiratory diseases were not involved in the study. Over the study period, patients completed a daily diary with questions pertaining to the severity of the nasal symptoms, sleep and their response to medication. There were nine questions about the severity of symptoms.

"We found a significant reduction in nasal stuffiness and sleep problems. Simply, if these people can breath easier at night, they have a less interrupted sleep pattern," states Craig. "The subjects' sleep is often interrupted with what we call microarousals. They don't wake up during the night, however, they may complain of being tired as soon as they wake up."

In at least 75 percent of patients, nasal steroids are an effective method of reducing symptoms and are recommended as the first line of medical therapy in adults having AR with nasal congestion, says the Penn State medical researcher.

Craig's research also suggests that the use of nasal steroids during the pollen season for seasonal allergy suffers is an effective treatment.

"We believe that the seasonal allergy patient will get the same benefits as the perennial suffer including improved sleep, nasal symptoms and overall improvement to their quality of life," he says.

Craig and his colleagues' paper titled, "Nasal Congestion Secondary to Allergic Rhinitis as a Cause of Sleep Disturbance and Daytime Fatigue and the Response to Topical Nasal Corticosteroids," was published in the May issue of the Journal Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
-end-


Penn State

Related Sleep Articles from Brightsurf:

Size and sleep: New research reveals why little things sleep longer
Using data from humans and other mammals, a team of scientists including researchers from the Santa Fe Institute has developed one of the first quantitative models that explains why sleep times across species and during development decrease as brains get bigger.

Wind turbine noise affects dream sleep and perceived sleep restoration
Wind turbine noise (WTN) influences people's perception of the restorative effects of sleep, and also has a small but significant effect on dream sleep, otherwise known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, a study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows.

To sleep deeply: The brainstem neurons that regulate non-REM sleep
University of Tsukuba researchers identified neurons that promote non-REM sleep in the brainstem in mice.

Chronic opioid therapy can disrupt sleep, increase risk of sleep disorders
Patients and medical providers should be aware that chronic opioid use can interfere with sleep by reducing sleep efficiency and increasing the risk of sleep-disordered breathing, according to a position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

'Short sleep' gene prevents memory deficits associated with sleep deprivation
The UCSF scientists who identified the two known human genes that promote 'natural short sleep' -- nightly sleep that lasts just four to six hours but leaves people feeling well-rested -- have now discovered a third, and it's also the first gene that's ever been shown to prevent the memory deficits that normally accompany sleep deprivation.

Short sleep duration and sleep variability blunt weight loss
High sleep variability and short sleep duration are associated with difficulties in losing weight and body fat.

Nurses have an increased risk of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation
According to preliminary results of a new study, there is a high prevalence of insufficient sleep and symptoms of common sleep disorders among medical center nurses.

Common sleep myths compromise good sleep and health
People often say they can get by on five or fewer hours of sleep, that snoring is harmless, and that having a drink helps you to fall asleep.

Sleep tight! Researchers identify the beneficial role of sleep
Why do animals sleep? Why do humans 'waste' a third of their lives sleeping?

Does extra sleep on the weekends repay your sleep debt? No, researchers say
Insufficient sleep and untreated sleep disorders put people at increased risk for metabolic problems, including obesity and diabetes.

Read More: Sleep News and Sleep Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.