At this time of year, hay fever symptoms are at an all time high, but don’t let that stop you from resting easy
After the dark, cold days of winter, we’re now enjoying long days, light nights and (generally) warmer temperatures. However, for around 16 million people in the UK alone, this more positive time of year is marred by the onset of hay fever symptoms.
From itchy eyes and sneezing to a runny nose, allergies can be an irritating and debilitating annual event. Not only that, but the discomfort allergy sufferers deal with doesn’t just impact waking hours – it can also disrupt your sleep, so much so that the Sleep Foundation reports that those with allergies are twice as likely to have insomnia as those without.
But how exactly does hay fever impact our sleep, and what can you do to get your sleep health back on track?
How do allergies impact your sleep?
Allergens irritate your nasal passages when they enter your nose, and this is what triggers uncomfortable symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes and congestion. As such, you may find it difficult to breathe easily, which can seriously deter your efforts to fall asleep.
This can create a vicious cycle. Missing out on sleep can cause increased irritability and tiredness, heightening anxiety and stress and making you far less emotionally able to cope with the negative symptoms associated with allergies. The less you sleep, the more your allergies are likely to irritate you, which in turn can disrupt your sleep even more.
And it’s not just falling asleep which can be difficult but staying asleep too. People with allergies may wake up due to congestion, or else sneezing or coughing in the middle of the night. This kind of sleep deprivation can add up over time, having significant consequences on your health and wellbeing overall.
How can you sleep better if you suffer from allergies?
There’s no doubt that sleeping with allergies can be tough, but there are ways you can support yourself. Here are a few key tips.
Close your doors and windows
Opening doors and windows during the day can invite allergens into your home, so try to keep your windows and doors closed to keep allergens outside and away from your bedroom.
Use an Air Purifier
As the name suggests, air purifiers help to clear the air in your bedroom, removing common household allergens like mould, dust mites, pollen and pet dander.
Keep pets out the bedroom
Speaking of pets, pet hair and dander are two of the most common allergens that impact sleep. You might love having your cat or dog sleep on your bed with you, but keeping them in a separate room could make a significant difference to your sleep health over time.
Make sure furniture is dust-free
Your furniture can pick up a surprising amount of dust and debris, and that includes your bedding, curtains, cushions and carpet. Be sure to wash your bedding regularly and hoover often in your bedroom too. Tightly woven fabric is a good options for sheets and pillowcases as it can prevent dust from trapping.
Shower before bed
You pick up a lot of allergens when out and about, including pollen. Showering before bed stops you from transferring these allergens onto your bedding, and can significantly reduce your level of irritation throughout the night. Try to make showers part of your bedtime routine and you’ll always be clean when getting into bed.