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Allergic Rhinitis Associated with Impaired Sleep Quality

CHICAGO - Patients with allergic rhinitis, such as that caused by hay fever and other allergies, have more difficulty sleeping and more sleep disorders// than those without allergies, according to a report in the September 18 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, a theme issue on sleep.

Allergic rhinitis, which occurs when pollen or other allergens irritate and inflame the nasal passages, affects about 20 to 50 percent of the population, according to background information in the article. Allergies have been shown to affect quality of life and several studies have suggested that they may contribute to snoring and breathing problems during sleep, including sleep apnea, a temporary halt to breathing. However, few researchers have closely examined sleep disorders in patients with allergic rhinitis.

Damien L?ger, M.D., of Assistance Publique H?pitaux de Paris, and colleagues explored the association between allergic rhinitis and sleep in 591 patients (47 percent men, 53 percent women, average age 34) who had the condition for at least one year and who were being treated by an allergist or by an ear, nose and throat specialist. A control group of 502 individuals who were the same age and sex and lived in the same area, but did not have allergic rhinitis, was also assessed. In 2002, all participants reported sleep disorders and rated their sleepiness; they also provided details regarding demographics, socioeconomic status and smoking habits. For patients with allergic rhinitis, researchers recorded the type of allergies, the duration of the condition, symptoms experienced and treatments used, as well as the presence and treatment of any additional allergic disorders.

All sleep disorders and complaints-including insomnia, waking up during the night, snoring and feeling fatigued when awakening-were more common in those with allergic rhinitis, who also slept fewer hours, took longer to fall asleep and more often felt sleepy during
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