According to allergy experts speaking with Time magazine in an alarming new report published Wednesday, the arrival of spring this year likely brings with it what could be the worst allergy season ever experienced by those afflicted by the usual seasonal miseries of watery eyes, sneezing, and headaches
"The winter’s excessive snow and bone chilling temps could mean more allergens this spring," Time reports.
“If it warms up quickly, and gets really warm, that may mean everything starts pollinating all at once,” Estelle Levetin, a professor of biology at University of Tulsa, explains.
Unlike most years, when trees unleash their allergy agents “more gradually,” when the spring season is shortened, this process is dramatically accelerated and "telescoped into a few miserable weeks for allergy sufferers."
In short, this year's spring allergies could be a waking nightmare. But apart from the usual over the counter and prescription allergy medications, which may still have trouble combating the oncoming onslaught of horrendous allergens, known allergy suffers are advised to take their sleep more seriously in the coming weeks and months.
In a 2008 experiment, researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine found that individuals who fail to get adequate quality sleep on a nightly basis experienced more aggressive springtime allergy symptoms. Study author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D. tells the Huffington Post that a sleep deficit "can worsen both allergy symptoms and stress."
But in case you take this to mean it’s time to pop a few sleeping pills as well, think again, especially if you're already loaded up with allergy meds. The combination could make you a zombie or worse.
As evidenced by the surge in prescriptions and sales of medicinal sleep aids, millions of Americans are turning to the pill bottle for shut-eye assistance. But with hit-or-miss results and occasional side effects – including a worsened form of rebound insomnia after sleep meds are discontinued – a growing number of physicians are urging greater restraint when using medicinal sleep aids.
Fortunately, innovative non-medicinal alternatives for treating sleep deprivation are proving to be highly effective and much safer than their prescription counterparts. Neuroscientist and NASA funded sleep researcher Seth Horowitz, Ph.D. points to groundbreaking new technology like the Sleep Genius smartphone app for iOS and Android as a potential game changer for the sleep deprived.
Just last month, in fact, Samsung announced that this scientifically advanced sleep program developed by top researchers in the fields of neuroscience, sleep, and music, will be integrated into the new Samsung GEAR 2 smartwatch.
Yet, regardless of the tips and tactics that work best for securing your most restful night's sleep, studies continue to suggest that quality sleep may be one of the best solutions for combating the allergy season from hell that is now just around the corner.