Spring is nearly upon us once again, and for many people, it also unfortunately marks the beginning of the dreaded hayfever season. The watery eyes, itchy skin, runny nose, sneezing, fatigue, and other irritating symptoms can be a constant companion through the warmer months – often making a good sleep near impossible! Creating an allergy-free environment to sleep in is essential for hayfever sufferers over the summer months, and doing so is a lot easier than you think.
What is hayfever?
Hayfever, or allergic rhinitis, occurs when your body is affected by some type of external irritant that has entered through either the mouth, eyes, or nose. This could be pollen from grass, flowers, and trees, dust mites, chemicals, or many other sources. When the body senses one of these irritants, it goes into attack mode, and attacks the irritants as though it were a virus, thus giving a person cold-like symptoms.
The symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the day and weather conditions. During the daytime, hot air causes these irritants to rise and move around, making outside activities nearly impossible for people who get severe reactions. Week after week of symptoms can leave a person exhausted – imagine having a cold for months on end!
Many people report that their allergies actually increase at night time, so relief cannot even be found in sleep. When the air cools at night, a thick layer of allergy irritants are left at ground level. Even just walking through these irritants on your way to bed is enough to cause nighttime chaos with your sleep. Waking constantly to blow your nose or scratch itchy skin can lead to severe daytime fatigue, which in turn affects daytime activities.
Allergy medication can help reduce the symptoms, as can nasal sprays. But there are a few other things you can do that will reduce nighttime symptoms in general.
- Keep your bedroom dust-free at all times. Regularly dust your skirting boards, vacuum any window coverings such as curtains and blinds, and vacuum your floors daily if able.
- Consider getting rid of your bedroom carpet if possible. Carpet can store a great many things, and is often one of the main sources of hay fever at night. If it is too cold during winter to have bare floors, try to avoid shaggy-style carpets and choose a tight looped style instead – the dust sits on top of the carpet and makes it much easier to clean.
- Keep your bedroom window closed at all times. Although that nighttime breeze may be enticing, it is better to invest in a fan or dehumidifier instead.
- Change your clothes as soon as you come inside for the night. Even if it’s hours before bed, have a wash to remove as many allergens as possible.
- Have a shower before bed to wash any hayfever making cells off, and to clear out all your sinuses.
The main cause of nighttime hayfever is because of the bed – this includes the mattress, bedding, pillows, and bed itself. Because we spend so much time there, it’s worth making sure it is as allergen free as possible. There are a few other things you can consider to keep the sneezing at bay.
- Your mattress is the most important part, as this is where dust mites can thrive on sweat and skin cells, especially with innerspring mattresses. Purchasing a pure latex mattress can drastically help to reduce hayfever symptoms, as dust mites don’t thrive in the limited space. Latex is extracted from rubber trees, which is then moulded into the mattress shape. Pure latex is hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, nontoxic, dust mite and bed bug resistant, making it the perfect choice for sufferers of hayfever and asthma.
- Regardless of the type of mattress you have, vacuum everytime you change your sheets to remove any dead skin cells and dust mites, especially for innerspring mattresses. Use a good quality mattress protector and wash it weekly with your sheets.
- Change your sheets and doona cover weekly, and either dry them inside or use a clothes dryer if possible. If you have no option but to hang them outdoors, try to do your washing on a low-pollen count day and get them back inside as soon as possible.
- Don’t forget to dust your base and clean under the bed. If you have an ensemble, vacuum regularly.
Following these tips during the hayfever months will hopefully have you sleeping easier in the blink of an eye!