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Does Having an Allergy Affect a Child's Sleep?

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Updated November 11, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Does Having an Allergy Affect a Child's Sleep?
Answer: Yes, allergy symptoms can affect the quality of a child's sleep.

Allergic rhinitis affects up to 30% to 40% of children, and causes far more problems than just a runny nose. In fact, allergic rhinitis has been shown to affect many aspects of a child’s life, including mood, performance in school and the ability to participate in sports and other activities. Sleep quality also appears to be affected, since children with allergic rhinitis are more likely to be tired during the day and to have attention problems that affect school performance.

Sleep quality can be evaluated by standardized questionnaires as well as through formal sleep studies (polysomnography). Actigraphy can monitor movements during sleep and translate them into a measurement of sleep quality.

A study published in October 2009 assessed the quality of sleep using actigraphy in children with allergic rhinitis, including before and after treatment for allergies. It found that children with allergic rhinitis had a lower quality of sleep, took a longer time to fall asleep, had more sleep disturbances, and had more daytime sleepiness as compared to children without allergic rhinitis.

When these children were treated with a combination of an oral antihistamine and a nasal corticosteroid spray for 8 weeks, many of the measurements of sleep quality improved and were similar to those of the children without allergic rhinitis.

Learn more about how allergic rhinitis affects the quality of life in children.

Source:

Yuksel H, Sogut A, Yilmaz H, et al. Sleep Actigraphy Evidence of Improved Sleep After Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009; 103:290-294.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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