The importance of rhinitis on sleep, daytime somnolence, productivity and fatigue

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2006 Nov;12(6):390-6. doi: 10.1097/01.mcp.0000245710.43891.5f.


Purpose of review: The goal of treatment of allergic rhinitis should include improvement of daytime and nighttime symptoms, sleep, and quality of life. Congestion from allergic rhinitis is associated with decreased learning and productivity at work and school and a reduced quality of life. The release of inflammatory mediators and activation of inflammatory cells results in nasal congestion, causing disrupted sleep and subsequent daytime somnolence.

Recent findings: This review presents evidence that allergic rhinitis causes sleep disruption, and discusses the pathophysiology of this process. The medications used to treat allergic rhinitis and their ability to improve sleep in patients with allergic rhinitis are reviewed.

Summary: Some allergic rhinitis medications can be sedating; therefore, it is important to treat allergic rhinitis with medications that improve symptoms while producing few adverse effects. Medications such as the second-generation antihistamines and anticholinergic drugs are well tolerated, but have little effect on congestion. Intranasal corticosteroids reduce congestion, improve sleep and sleep problems, and reduce daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and inflammation. Recently, montelukast, a leukotriene receptor antagonist, has been added to the therapies approved for allergic rhinitis. Montelukast significantly improves both daytime and nighttime symptoms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Efficiency*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Rhinitis / complications*
  • Rhinitis / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Stages*
  • Sleep*