Allergies, Sleep, and the Search for a Non-Drowsy Allergy Medication

Updated
Updated

Allergies and sleep often clash. Either you end up tossing and turning all night from allergy symptoms, or you take your allergy medication and end up drowsy all day. Or, during allergy season, you might end up suffering from both.

Why Sleep Is a Struggle With Allergies

It can be hard to fall asleep when you’re uncomfortable. Allergic reactions to pollen, pet dander, or dust can affect your breathing and make it harder for you to relax. And sleeping with congestion is never an easy feat.

What’s more, other common allergy symptoms can worsen when you lie down. Post-nasal drip irritates the back of your throat. And even a slightly dusty pillowcase (a notorious shelter for pollen and other allergens your hair and skin might collect throughout the day) can worsen a case of itchy eyes. All of these discomforts add up, and for those with allergies, it can sometimes make falling and staying asleep feel impossible, resulting in poor sleep quality.

Allergy Fatigue – When Your Allergies Have You Sick, Tired, and Drowsy

To complicate matters more, allergy symptoms themselves can cause drowsiness, fatigue, and brain fog. Constantly having your immune system on high alert can wipe your body out.

Feeling tired all the time negatively impacts your quality of life. It can make work, relationships, and even your hobbies feel like a drag. Plus, brain fog and drowsiness negatively impact people’s reaction time, motor skills, and decision-making, making it dangerous, especially if you nod off while driving.

Antihistamines – Do They All Make You Sleepy?

The first generation of allergy medicines are known to cause drowsiness as a side effect. The active ingredient in Benadryl is actually found in a lot of sleeping pills. And if your allergies are already increasing your tiredness, medications like Benadryl may make you extremely sleepy.

The good news is there are second-generation allergy medications that won’t put you to bed. Second- and third-generation antihistamines are designed to reduce drowsiness while still addressing your allergy symptoms. Claritin and Allegra are examples of non-drowsy antihistamines.

A Side-by-side Drowsiness Comparison

Choosing the right allergy treatment can depend partly on when your symptoms are at their worst. A first-generation antihistamine could be great at night when your allergy symptoms won’t allow you to rest. But a second-generation non-drowsy treatment should be your go-to for short-term daytime relief.

To find the best option for you, consider each medication’s side effects.

Non-Drowsy Antihistamines

  • Allegra (Fexofenadine) – second-generation antihistamine
  • Claritin (Loratadine) – second-generation antihistamine

Non-Drowsy Nasal Sprays

  • Flonase (Fluticasone) – nasal steroid spray
  • Nasacort (Triamcinolone) – nasal steroid spray

May Cause Drowsiness

  • Xyzal (Levocetirizine) – third-generation antihistamine; to avoid daytime drowsiness it is recommended to take it at night
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine) – second-generation antihistamine

Expect Drowsiness

  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) – first-generation antihistamine

Whichever treatment you decide on, carefully read the label and any warnings. Some antihistamines can interact with other drugs or medications, so take precautions to avoid any negative interactions. You can talk to your doctor to see if there will be any drug interactions between your current medications and the antihistamines you are considering taking.

Are You Looking for Long-Lasting Allergy Relief?

If you have tried out antihistamines and you’re still struggling to find allergy relief, reach out to Wyndly today. Our allergy doctors can lend support and expertise during your search. You may even be a candidate for sublingual immunotherapy, an easy, at-home allergy treatment that leads to long-term allergy relief. Start today by taking our quick, two-minute assessment and be one step closer to long-lasting allergy relief!

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