Nasal allergies impact on sleep quality

Updated: 2006-09-28 10:46

NEW YORK - Allergic rhinitis affects all aspects of sleep, according to a new study.

"Allergic rhinitis is common and has been shown to impair social life and sleep," Dr. Damien Leger, of Center du Sommeil et de la Vigilance, Paris, France, and colleagues write in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Patients with severe symptoms may have more sleep disturbances than those with a mild form of the disease, but this has never been assessed using a validated tool."

In a nationwide study, the researchers studied 591 patients who had allergic rhinitis for at least a year and a comparison group of 502 unaffected "control" subjects.

Overall, 85 percent of allergic rhinitis patients were being treated for their disease. Also, the team notes, 24 percent of allergic rhinitis patients had asthma, compared to less than 2 percent of controls.

Compared to people with mild allergic rhinitis, those with severe allergic rhinitis had significantly impaired sleep. The subjects with allergic rhinitis used significantly more sleeping pills and alcohol than controls.

"A total of 43.7 percent of patients with allergic rhinitis reported a feeling of fatigue on awakening despite a normal night's sleep," Leger's team writes.

"Headache at awakening, anxiety, and depression as contributing factors of sleep problems and daytime somnolence were significantly more frequently reported by patients with allergic rhinitis than by the controls," the investigators add.

"The onus is on health care professionals to make the link between allergic rhinitis and sleep problems in their patients," they conclude. "Treating allergic rhinitis or other nasal symptoms may improve dramatically the quality of sleep."