How to stop allergies ruining your sleep
Do you find that your hay fever is worse at night? Allergy symptoms are often most acute when you're trying to sleep. This is because many of the irritants that can trigger these allergies are found in bedrooms, such as dust and dust mites, pet dander, and pollen brought in from outside or let in through windows.
If you suffer from allergies, your sleep might be suffering too. But choosing the right bedding and cleaning regime can make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep, and make it much easier to relax every night. Read on for detailed guidance on how to stop allergies ruining your sleep.
In this guide, we'll cover the most common allergies that affect sleep, and how to stop them:
- Hay Fever
- Dust Mites
- Laundry Detergent
What are the most common allergies that affect sleep?
The most common allergies that disturb sleep are hay fever, dust mite allergies, and being allergic or sensitive to certain laundry detergents. If you suffer from eczema, you might also find certain seasons or irritants make your skin condition flare up.
Here, we'll break down the most common allergies and how to combat them.
Hay fever is one of the most common allergies in the UK, and as it can be worse at night, it can really disturb your sleep. Pollen allergies tend to be seasonal, so you might find you sleep well in the winter, but have difficulties in spring and summer.
Try to minimise the pollen in your bedroom by checking the pollen count during the seasons when you're most affected — this might be spring for tree pollen, or summer for grass allergies. Pollen counts are typically higher in the morning, and when it's hot and dry. You can check the pollen count in your area using the UK Met Office's Pollen Forecast.
There are lots of things you can do to minimise your hay fever symptoms, and the first is adapting your bedtime routine. Shower and change into clean clothes before bed — this will get rid of any pollen that has accumulated throughout the day. If you take a hay fever medication, such as an antihistamine, try taking it before bed so it calms your symptoms during the night.
You can also keep pollen out of your bedroom throughout the day by closing the windows, and cleaning your room at least once per week.
Invest in anti-allergy bedding, and wash your sheets every 3 to 4 days to keep them pollen-free. For more advice on how to clean your bedding, check out our bedding care guide.
Another common allergy is dust mites. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells, and they are often found in pillows and mattresses. Allergies to dust mites are not seasonal, and they tend to flare up when there is a build-up of dust, which feeds the dust mites. To find out more about how to combat this, read our guide to getting rid of dust mites.
To reduce dust mites, you should reduce dust. Cleaning your room (preferably by hoovering) once per week is important, but you should also minimise the amount of fabric in your bedroom. If possible, avoid carpeting, soft furnishings, wool blankets, and down pillows. These collect more dust.
Try using a dehumidifier to keep your room at less than 50% humidity, as dust mites thrive in humid, warm environments. You can also buy an anti-bacterial and anti-odour mattress protector — this will help prevent dust, mould, and odours that provide dust mites with a home.
Wash your bedding at least once per week on the hottest rinse setting that is recommended on the label, ensuring that you don't damage the fabric. This will kill dust mites and remove all dust and dead skin cells, to stop new mites from breeding. Make sure to wash your mattress, bedding, and pillows regularly too, to extend their lifespans and remove dust mites.
If you are experiencing allergy symptoms or skin irritation, but you have no known allergies, you might be allergic or sensitive to the laundry detergent used on your bedding. Some people find either biological or non-biological detergents can irritate their skin, while others find that heavily fragranced products cause irritation.
If you think your cleaning regime is the issue, try fragrance-free detergents, or products that are advertised as suitable for children and infants, as these will be gentler and less likely to make your skin flare up.
If you suffer with eczema, it's more likely that you will experience a reaction from your detergent. Consult with your doctor to find one that will keep your bedding clean without sacrificing the comfort of your skin.
People with sensitive skin or a tendency towards eczema are more likely to be affected by different textures and fabrics. Breathable and lightweight fibres are much less irritating, so go for cotton, linen and bamboo bedding sets to calm your skin.
When you see the words 'anti-allergy bedding', it could be referring to one of two things — hypoallergenic, or anti-allergic. They are often mixed up, but the difference is important.
- Anti-allergy bedding contains ingredients that actively minimise allergies. This usually means that they are designed to repel dust mites, either with anti-dust mite coatings, or by having the filling more tightly packed so the mites can't find their way into the bedding.
- Hypoallergenic bedding means the ingredients are less likely to trigger allergies. Materials such as cotton are more breathable, which reduces the damp conditions that dust mites and mould need in order to thrive.
Choosing either anti-allergy or hypoallergenic bedding can go a long way to reducing your reactions at night, and improve your sleep quality. Our Everycomfy Anti-Allergy Bedding Bundle is specially designed to be both hypoallergenic and anti-allergenic. The special covering protects against dust mites, while the stuffing is suitable for those who react to down or feather bedding and pillows.
Lastly, you can buy cotton sheets, which are smoother and less irritating. Their natural fibres are also much more breathable than synthetic sheets, which can help keep your skin cooler throughout the night. A lower temperature often eases skin irritations and eczema, as well as making it easier for you to fall asleep.
Learning how to stop allergies so you can get a good night's sleep can be overwhelming, whether they caused by hay fever, dust mites, or something else. But with some tweaks to your night-time routine, and some savvy bedding choices, you can minimise the disturbance to your rest and get the shut-eye you need all year round. If you want advice on choosing a mattress and bedding, or if you would like further advice on bedding cleaning, consult our guides and FAQs.
This article is meant as a general guide and you should always consult with your doctor, and follow the instructions provided by them, and by producers of allergy medication. If you are in any doubt, we would always recommend that you discuss allergies with your doctor. Dormeo cannot be held liable for any accidental damage that occurs as a result of following the advice in this guide.