Seasonal allergy sufferers dread the arrival of spring because it means a surge in allergens and an increase in symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, congestion, and general fatigue.
In addition, allergy sufferers tend to have much more trouble sleeping at this time of year. This problem is caused not only by outdoor allergens but also by the dust mites, skin cells, and other microscopic debris that tend to accumulate in standard coil mattresses.
Since adequate rest is essential for the immune system to function properly and combat the onslaught of allergy symptoms, it’s important to get plenty of sleep every night. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
- Switch to a memory foam mattress. Memory foam is proven to inhibit the buildup of dust mites and their feces, so reactions to these allergens are less likely to be triggered while you’re in bed. Memory foam also discourages mold and mildew growth, allowing you to—literally—breathe easier in that regard as well.
- Use an air conditioner and/or an air purifier. Since dust mites thrive in high humidity, running an air conditioner at night is another great way to ensure better sleep. You’ll have to close the windows to do this, which serves the double purpose of keeping outdoor allergens at bay while you sleep. Finally, go the extra mile by using an air purifier with a HEPA filter for a clean air experience like no other.
- Wash your bedding in hot water and use the dryer. Studies show that washing bedsheets and pillowcases in hot water (60°C or 140°F) kills 100 percent of common allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and tree pollen, while washing in cold or warm water kills only 5 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Furthermore, drying your bedding in the clothes dryer rather than hanging it on a clothesline eliminates the chances of outdoor allergens attaching themselves to your linens.
- Take care of your nasal passages. Keeping your nasal passages clean and clear will go a long way towards minimizing your reaction to airborne allergens. Flushing with a neti pot, clearing with a saline nasal spray, or opening with eucalyptus oil via aromatherapy are all simple home remedies you can try right before bedtime.
- See your doctor. For severe allergies, consider seeing your doctor or other qualified medical professional for help. Some of the treatment options your doctor might recommend include the newest prescription antihistamines, nasal steroids, or even a full course of allergy shots administered over a period of several years.
Just because spring is here doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to restless nights full of coughing, sneezing, and labored breathing. Use these tips to get better sleep all season long!