Not only does the sheer misery induced by allergy symptoms keep you awake at night, but your body’s immunological response to those allergens disrupts the systems set up to regulate your sleep. So the key to a good night’s sleep is to keep allergens at bay — or, when that’s simply impossible, find a way to minimize your body’s reaction to them.
Here are nine of the worst mistakes for those sleeping with allergies:
1. No dust mite protection. Dust mites are a common cause of allergy. Using dust mite proof barrier covers for your mattress and pillow such as the Protect A Bed Allerzip range will stop the dust mites breeding in your bedding. Protect A Bed Allerzip protectors fully encase your bedding and form an impenetrable, yet soft physical barrier between you and dust mites. In clinical studies, the use of bedding protectors has shown a dramatic reduction in problems associated with dust mite allergens.
2. Not rinsing out your nasal passages When allergens, dust, and mold enter your nasal passages, they tend to get stuck in the membrane lining those passages. Inflammation sets in, your nose becomes swollen and clogged, and a nasty sinus infection can be the result. Fortunately, however, “nasal irrigation, if it is done correctly and gently, can remove allergens, irritants, and inflammatory mucus,” says William H. Anderson, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
3. Not showering before bed. Taking a shower before you go to bed can help wash away the pollens you’ve collected during the day. Wash your hands after outdoor play to avoid transferring pollen from the hands to the eyes and nose. If you are outdoors during high pollen counts, take a shower and wash your hair when you come inside.
4. Sleeping with the windows open. If you can afford it, air conditioning will help keep pollen out of your home and keep the humidity low to discourage dust mites. If you can’t afford to air-condition your whole space, try using a room-size window air conditioner in your bedroom. It may help you sleep. Budget not up to even that? Then buy a HEPA filter and shape it to fit over your bedroom window screen. The pollens won’t get in.
5. Taking your allergy medication at the wrong time. Hay fever symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes, generally peak early in the morning, shortly after waking up. Those morning symptoms can be reduced by taking your allergy medications at night. It assures that it will be circulating in your blood stream when you most need it, early the next morning. Allergy symptoms generally peak at about 4 a.m.
5. Exercising at the wrong time of day. Pollen is usually emitted between 5:00 and 10:00 A.M. Consider pollen counts when planning outdoor activities. It may help to limit your outdoor activities during the times of highest pollen and mold counts. You may find that outdoor activities may be better tolerated after a gentle, sustained rain.
6. Bringing allergens indoors on your clothing. If you are outdoors during high pollen counts, change your clothes (not in your bedroom) when you come indoors and leave these clothes in the laundry room. If you bring the clothes into the bedroom, you also bring the pollen and can affect your night’s sleep.
7. Not using hot water for laundry. A study at Yonsei University in South Korea looked at what it took to clean dust mites, dog dander, and tree pollen — three of the most common allergens — off your sheets.
For dust mites it turns out that cold water killed 5 to 8 percent. Warm water killed 7 to 11 percent. Hot water — 60°C or 140°F — killed 100 percent.
For dog dander the results were similar — although nearly all allergens were removed at all wash temperatures when rinsing twice or more.
For tree pollen using hot water was more effective than other temperatures. Rinsing at least once removed tree pollen at all temperatures.
8. Drying laundry outdoors. Hanging laundry on the line allows a zillion pollens and moulds to collect on sheets, clothes, and towels. When you fold your laundry, drop it into the laundry basket, and haul it back into your home, you’re contaminating your house with millions upon millions of the very things to which you may be allergic.
9. Pets in the bedroom. A lot of people are apparently allergic to dog and cat dander without even being aware of it. They think their itchy nose and sneezing are due to something else altogether. But play it on the safe side. Let Beans or Spike or Rufus sleep in his own bed several rooms away from yours