Suppose you are one of the 50 million Americans who experience allergies. In that case, you may have suffered those annoying symptoms like itchy eyes, running nose and constant sneezing — which are often uncomfortable, but manageable. If you have allergies, you may have also found yourself feeling groggy or fatigued, which can significantly affect your life, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. If you’re wondering what the culprit behind your fatigue is, it may very well be allergies.
In fact, allergy fatigue is so common that there’s even a scientific name for tiredness due to allergies — “brain fog” — which makes it difficult to focus on tasks or function at your best each day.
There are a few reasons why fatigue can be linked to allergies. First, exposure to allergens triggers an immune response that is meant to protect you from unknown allergens. However, this produces a chemical called histamine, which is known to cause fatigue.
Allergy symptoms such as congestion and coughing may cause discomfort, not to mention wake you up during the night, making it difficult to get a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep, contributing to fatigue feelings during the day. Finally, taking allergy medications, like antihistamines, to combat or prevent allergy symptoms may lead to drowsiness during the day, as well.
Your first instinct to combat allergy symptoms and fatigue may be to stay inside, however allergens can exist both indoors and outdoors, and it can be a challenge to limit your exposure to them.
To help prevent allergy symptoms so you can function normally during the day and sleep well at night, start by finding the source of your symptoms. You can do this by taking an allergy test or by keeping an allergy log to track what you have been exposed to and what symptoms you may have. Once you’ve identified the culprit, avoid those allergens or at least try to limit your exposure to them if possible. If allergies are at home (like mold, dust, or pet dander), try allergy-proofing the house.
From there, there are a few healthy ways to start your day right and manage daytime allergy fatigue like maintaining healthy eating habits, staying hydrated, and getting a moderate amount of exercise. Also, don’t forget to get a good amount of sunlight as it increases serotonin production, which is known for lifting your mood and energy levels.
As for bedtime, it’s hard to get comfortable when you have allergies. One way to alleviate some of your symptoms is by taking a shower before bed. This helps wash away pollen and other irritants off of your skin and hair. It may also just feel good to get in a steamy shower to help relieve sinus pressure. As for the bedroom, make sure you are washing your sheets frequently and limiting pet access to eliminate pet dander and excessive dust.
Allergies can impact your quality of life, so learning how to manage your allergy fatigue is important. If you’re suffering from allergy fatigue, check out the infographic below for tips to stay alert during the day and reduce your symptoms at night!