Why allergies are worse at night

Is there anything like crawling into bed on a summer night with a cool breeze flowing in through the open window? That might sound like a dream, but for those with allergies, this can be more of a nightmare situation.


Owen Wiseman

25 March 2019

What are allergies?

Allergies are the body's reaction to typically harmless molecules known as allergens. Allergens are an incredibly broad range of substances that include dust, pet dander, certain things in food, or pollen. In truth though, it is actually possible to be allergic to anything if the body reacts in a certain way.

What causes allergies?

When a pathogen or microbe attempts to set up shot in our body, the warning bells go off and the body releases warriors in the form of white blood cells to fight off the invaders.

This first reaction is often unspecific and uses a lot of the body's resources because not much is known about this new attacker. However, after a grand battle with causalities on both sides, certain cells take pieces of the invader to study.

The body learns part of their strategy so the next time they attack, the defense is more targeted and efficient, using fewer resources. This system protects you 24/7, but is also prone to mistakes.

In the case of allergies, an invader might be the nearby tree pollen, something that won't damage the body like a bacteria or virus, but that the body still identifies as dangerous. After that first reaction, your allergies quickly develop and this is why a subsequent exposure could be deadly in some cases.

What sort of symptoms might I experience?

After what we just learned, think of all of the typical allergy symptoms as protective mechanisms against the invading allergens. The body initiates the cough reflex to drive the allergens out of our airway, mucous production ramps up to create a sort of slimy net that will capture the allergens, and we often get teary eyed to wash the bad guys away. Any membranes that are exposed to potential invasion are considered vulnerable, and the body has great mechanisms to protect itself, despite how inconvenient we might find them at times.

I find myself stuffier in the evening...what's going on?

Lighting a candle or warming your hands above a nice fire might give a clue as to why your allergies might be worse in the evening. The warm air rises up and as it cools, it falls back down to settle nearby or be drawn back into the current where it's warmed again.

At night, all of the pollens that were higher up in the air can now sink down and accumulate closer to the ground. If you have a ground floor window open for instance, that warm breeze could draw those in to your home. Now, despite this, there are numerous factors that affect the distribution of allergens and their concentration such as wind, humidity, distance, and temperature. Much of the research on day-night patterns of allergens also show that these patterns are spread out depending on the species of plant or pollen type.

Does that mean I won't experience allergies during the day?

Not necessarily, as mentioned earlier, some pollens are more concentrated in the evening while others are highly prevalent during the day.

What factors increase pollen concentration?

Putting oneself in rush hour on a crowded highway winding its way through the city, one can imagine how all of the particulates in the exhaust fumes would contribute to aggravating allergies. Interestingly, when a mass of cars are idling on the highway, they create a hot zone that warm the surrounding air and send the pollutants and allergens higher up, only for them to fall in the evening or be carried away by the wind.

For different species, conditions have to be ideal for the flora and fauna to release their pollen. So one can expect during the spring, to face more allergy symptoms with temperatures being warm during the day and being cooler in the evening. Interestingly enough, as plants feed on carbon dioxide, as the levels increase, the plants are stimulated to grow more quickly and subsequently release more pollen. These allergens can also settle on clothing throughout the day and when they're brought into the home, they can accumulate causing your symptoms at night to worsen.

What are some steps I can take to avoid these allergens?

During your sleeping hours, adding a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to your home can make a large difference in controlling your symptoms. This technology uses incredibly tiny fibres that catch particulate matter. As more particles get caught, they begin to disrupt the airflow and attract other particles, the more they catch, the more efficient they become. This can catch the allergens floating through your window at night and ensure you stay rested. Some HEPA filters boast an efficiency rating of 99.995% leaving few allergens safe from its air-purifying power including potential airborne diseases.

Allergy relief is a 6X homeopathic preparation that is completely safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. The preparation can be utilized as a nasal spray which provides direct access to the mucosal lining, sugar free tablets, or a tincture. In one study, those taking the Allergy Relief tincture reported an 88.5% improvement in their symptoms. These can be taken throughout the day, but one should ensure they read the ingredients and be mindful if they have any allergies.