Evenings should be a time of calm, a chance for you to rest and recuperate before tackling the world again the next day. Unfortunately, symptoms of allergic rhinitis (aka hayfever) can make for an interrupted, disjointed sleep. If you’re not getting an appropriate amount of rest because of hayfever the cumulative effect can quickly take its toll – leaving you feeling frustrated and fatigued. Left untreated, allergy symptoms can also lead to further health complications like sinusitis. Luckily, there’s a number of steps you can implement to help you get the quality sleep that your body needs.
Keep your windows closed
In the warmer months it can be tempting to sleep with your windows open, but this is a big mistake if you’re an allergy sufferer. Pollen rises in warm air during the day, and as temperatures begin to cool in the evening it descends.
Before retiring for the day, make sure all your windows are tightly sealed to minimise any chance of allergens finding their way into your bedroom. Night-time pollen activity can exacerbate hayfever symptoms, causing you to wake up congested.
Shower before bed
Reducing the chance of any stray pollen ending up in your bed should be your aim, particularly if you’ve been outside. To that end, make sure that you shower before bedtime. Allergens can cling to your body – particularly your hair – so it’s important to wash off as much as possible.
A hot, steamy shower may temporarily help to decongest you – clearing your nasal passages and making it easier to breathe when you jump into bed. Finally, make sure you throw your worn clothes straight into a laundry hamper, as they can also pick up allergens over the course of the day.
Wash your bedsheets regularly if you’re sensitive to dust mites and dander
To minimise the chance of allergies disrupting your sleep, it’s important to regularly refresh your bedding. Pollen, dander (dead skin particles) and dust mites can accumulate in your sheets and pillow cases and add to your evening woes, so aim to wash them at least once a week in water heated to at least 60 degrees Celsius.
After washing, dry your bedding inside or in a clothes dryer– even if the sun is shining. Drying outside provides plenty of opportunity for air-borne allergens to embed themselves in the fabric of your laundry.
Similarly, make sure you keep an eye on your pillows and mattress by protecting them with dust mite resistant covers. These protective covers should be washed in hot water (over 60 degrees) every two months, while blankets and doonas should be washed every three months.
Invest in air-filtration
Consider buying an air purifier for your bedroom. As the name suggests, purifiers work to rid the air of allergens by circulating and filtering oxygen, ultimately helping you breathe easier.
If you’re shopping for an air purifier, look for one with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorber) filter – they’re the most efficient in trapping allergens like dust mite debris and pet dander that may be circulating in your room.
Ban pets from the bedroom
If you’ve got a furry friend it can be tempting to give them free roam of the house – but pet dander from cats and dogs is a common hayfever trigger. When pets are grooming themselves, dander mixes with saliva, dust, and fur – resulting in particles that can provoke allergy symptoms when inhaled.
Beyond that, pets that roam outside are likely to pick up pollen particles in their fur which they will then bring back into the house. Establish your room as a pet-free zone to minimise the likelihood of unwanted allergy material finding its way into your bed.
Treat and prevent hayfever symptoms with Nasonex® Allergy nasal spray.
- ASCIA, ‘Pollen allergy’, www.allergy.org.au, 2017 (Accessed September 2018)
- ASCIA, ‘Sinusitis and allergy’, www.allergy.org.au, 2017 (Accessed September 2018)
- Grewling Ł, Bogawski P, Smith M. ‘Pollen nightmare: elevated airborne pollen levels at night.’ Aerobiologia, 2016 (Accessed September 2018)
- ASCIA, ‘Allergen minimisation’, www.allergy.org.au, 2017 (Accessed September 2018)