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23 June 2019, 10:07 | Updated: 23 June 2019, 12:00
Hay fever season is in full swing, but fret not, we share five top tips to help you improve your sleep
The warmer weather is finally here, but with better weather often comes drawbacks, especially if you’re an allergy sufferer. The most common allergy in adults is hay fever, which can have many uncomfortable symptoms and a drastic effect on how you function in day to day life.
This includes disrupted sleep, with over half of adults (57%) with hay fever suffering from sleep problems, which can lead to daytime fatigue and decreased cognitive functioning.
We all want to enjoy the summer, and luckily, there are ways you can make allergy season more bearable – especially at night time. To help, Neil Robinson, chief sleep officer at Sealy UK, has given his top tips for getting a good night’s sleep if you’re an allergy sufferer, helping you get that spring back in your step in time for summer.
The average person washes their bed sheets once every two weeks but in the summer months, twice a month is not enough to keep allergens at bay. In hay fever season, consider washing your sheets once a week to keep sheets free of pollen, as well as dust and other particles that might make symptoms worse.
A hot wash will also help. In a study, scientists found that washing items at hotter temperatures was more effective at removing traces of tree pollen, so when you wash your sheets, make sure it’s at a temperature of 40C or above – ideally at least 60C.
When it comes to the environment you sleep in, your mattress can be one of the biggest aggravators of allergy symptoms. The average mattress can contain tens of thousands of dust mites and their waste, which are a serious irritant for people with allergies.
It can be hard to banish dust mites for good, but a high-quality mattress which holds the Allergy UK seal of approval can help. Try to pick a mattress which includes Smart Fibres, which help to keep your sleep environment fresh and dry and also reduce dust mites. If you suffer from an allergy, Purotex microcapsules and Tencel fibres are good materials to look out for when choosing a new mattress.
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Your dog or cat might make a great sleeping partner, but they won’t do your night time allergies any favours. Their fur can be a magnet for pollen, dust and other allergens, meaning you’ll be the one to suffer when they climb into your bed late at night. With 10% of people banishing their partner from the bedroom to make room for their furry friend, it might be time to evict your pet and invite your partner back in during the summer months if you don’t want your allergy symptoms to flare up.
You might be a fan of a cool shower to wake you up first thing in the morning, but if your allergy symptoms get worse at night, it may be worth considering shaking up your shower routine. At the end of a long day, your hair, skin and clothes will be covered in micro-particles of dust and pollen, especially if you’ve spent long periods outside enjoying the sunshine. A quick shower before settling down for the night can help remove these allergens before you sleep, reducing night time symptoms.
If you have a whole host of medication to relieve your symptoms, consider when you are suffering the most and make sure you’re taking them at an appropriate time of the day. Keep a diary of symptoms and notice the times of day you have flare-ups. If night time is one of the times you suffer the most, consider taking any medication before bed so you reap their full benefits, making sure to consult your doctor before making any changes.