Are Your Allergies Keeping You Awake?
TEMPUR® sleep specialist shares guide to minimising the effects of allergies on sleep.
The glorious sunshine is here, and with it beautiful blooming flowers, luscious lawns and…hay fever. For allergy sufferers the beauty of the warmer season can be lost thanks to weeks, if not months, of stinging, streaming eyes and blocked noses. To add insult to injury the symptoms make it harder to drift off to sleep at night, meaning you wake up irritable instead of rejuvenated.
TEMPUR® sleep specialist & sleep counsellor, Thomas Høegh Reisenhus, says, “The beauty of this time of year is sadly lost on the 20% of Brits who suffer with hay fever. The watery eyes, sore throat and blocked nose are reminiscent of a painful cold, in a season where these ailments are usually alleviated.
“Simple steps, however, can mean that even if you suffer from some discomfort during the day, this can be left at the bedroom door enabling you to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. And as with any ailment, sleep is a vital resource needed for the body to rest, recover and regain strength for the next day.”
Read on for Thomas’s guide to achieving a restful night’s sleep this hay fever season…
Prevention is better than cure
It’s always best to try and stop the symptoms before they become an issue rather than simply trying to minimise the effects. Precautions like monitoring the pollen count, wearing wraparound sunglasses, avoiding sitting outside for long periods of time or when it’s particularly breezy, and keeping the bedroom window shut are all worth remembering.
If your allergies become a big issue, it’s important to talk to the pharmacist or your GP about medication that could help alleviate the symptoms which will also mean that, come night-time, you’re better able to enjoy a restorative night’s sleep.
Your bedroom should always be a haven but in the summer it should be a hay fever safe space too.
Keep any outdoor clothing or shoes out of the bedroom as they can carry pollen particles that could cause a flare up, even at night. Similarly, open windows are a hay fever sufferer’s worst nightmare as they allow pollen particles to enter the room. Instead, keep windows and blinds closed during the day to keep out the pollen and the heat, and leave a fan on to keep the air circulating and ensure it’s a more comfortable sleep environment come bedtime.
Finally, the addition of an air purifier will mean the air in your bedroom is kept clean, so you won’t suffer from uncomfortable side effects throughout the night.
The types of fabrics in your room can act as a catalyst for allergy symptoms and make you feel even worse.
Ensure all bedding and pyjamas are made from natural materials such as cotton and linen. Whilst this won’t help alleviate allergy symptoms, there’s no need to make a restful night’s sleep even harder thanks to overheating. Natural materials will help you to regulate your temperature, which is vital if you want to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Just remember to wash your nightclothes regularly to remove any potential build-up of dead skin cells, dust or pollen particles.
A key piece of furniture in the bedroom that has considerable material square footage and is often overlooked is your mattress. As with your bedclothes, make sure to regularly clean your mattress and bedding so as to avoid exacerbating any allergies. For ultimate ease and convenience invest in a mattress with a removable and washable cover.
A diet full of anti-inflammatory foods may help to fight the uncomfortable symptoms of hay fever. Cherries, blueberries and blackberries are sweet anti-inflammatory fruits with the added benefit of containing naturally occurring melatonin and magnesium, both of which promote muscle relaxation and sleep.
Foods with vitamin C are another great addition to your summer diet as the vitamin reduces histamine in blood levels as well as strengthening your nasal lining , helping to keep the pollen particles out of your body. So stock up on kale, citrus fruits and even potatoes to help keep symptoms at bay.
A solid bedtime routine will signal to mind and body that bedtime is approaching, and over time will mean you will find it much easier to fall asleep – even in the midst of allergy season.
Make sure to put the tech away, and instead spend the hour before bed unwinding. Start with a warm evening bath or shower to relax your muscles and help to ensure any lingering pollen particles are removed from your skin.
Enjoy a relaxing cup of chamomile or nettle tea – both recommended as anti-inflammatory agents and thus may help to alleviate allergy symptoms – whilst also easing you into a state of relaxation.
Finally, enjoy some time meditating, reading or journaling to help you unwind and de-stress ahead of a peaceful night’s sleep.
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