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5 common Allergy Mistakes which could keep you up at night 

Allergy Mistakes

No one enjoys having red, swollen eyes and a constant runny nose, but when the pollen count rises and the weather gets warmer, as many as 1 in 5 Brits experience these hay fever-like symptoms. 

With a breakout search for ‘can you get hay fever in February’ alongside a 120% increase in searches for ‘hay fever injections’, many of us are experiencing an earlier start to hay fever this year than normal.

“Congestion caused by allergies can greatly impact the quality of our sleep, which in turn can have a knock on effect on our physical and mental health,” explains Dr Lindsay Browning, psychologist, neuroscientist and sleep expert at And So To Bed

To help tackle the sleeping difficulties that arise from hay fever symptoms, Dr Browning has shared her top tips to follow below:

  1. Keep your head elevated 

Symptoms associated with an allergy are usually worse at night. This is because when we lie down, the mucus cannot drain in the same way it would when gravity is helping, leading to disturbed breathing or a cough caused by a post-nasal drip.

For this reason, you should aim to keep your head slightly elevated at night if you are struggling with allergies. You might want to try propping your head up with an extra pillow and shifting your sleeping position so you’re slightly more seated. This will bring gravity back into the mix, allowing excess mucus to drain and not pool and lessening the irritation. 

  1. Regularly clean your bedroom, bedding and pyjamas

When you’re trying to sleep with hay fever, it’s important to stay on top of regularly cleaning your bedroom and bedding to prevent dust (and allergens) from building up. Ensure you frequently vacuum the carpet, dust your surfaces and wash bedding to make sleeping easier.

It’s also important to avoid wearing any daytime clothes in bed, as these are likely to have pollen on them. Instead, change into your PJ’s before you get into bed and stay on top of regularly washing your clothes to minimise the risk of bringing pollen in.

If you have pets, try to avoid letting them into your bedrooms – as difficult as this may be – since pet hair and dander can increase allergens in bed, which will enhance your hay fever symptoms at night. Plus, your pet may have picked up pollen in their fur which can brush off into your bedroom overnight, especially if you share a bed with them.

Also after washing your sheets and nightwear, be cautious about drying them on the line outside if you suffer from allergies. Although drying clothes and bedding naturally outside is better for the environment, pollen can be easily picked up by warm air and cling to your washing, so you may want to avoid outdoor drying when pollen counts are high. 

To combat this, be mindful of high pollen count times and hang your washing to dry in the middle of the day when there tends to be less pollen lower to the ground. It’s also important to choose the location wisely when it comes to drying your clothes and avoid hanging in areas where there are lots of trees, flowers or grass, as there will be higher levels of pollen there too. 

  1. Shower before bed 

Taking a shower before bed will wash away any pollen that may have clung to your skin and hair from outside. Instead of transferring this onto your bed linen, make a habit of washing yourself before bed.

This is also a great tip for when we still start to experience warmer evenings again as a cool, not cold, shower will help to lower your body temperature making it easier to drift off to sleep.

  1. Keep windows closed during the day

It might be tempting to open the window a fraction to let some fresh air in on a sunny spring day, however, if you’re a hay fever sufferer, you try to keep your windows and doors closed to prevent pollen from entering your home. 

Having your windows open during the day will allow pollen particles to blow in and settle on your clothes, bedding and other soft furnishings within your room, making your symptoms much worse when it comes to bedtime. 

  1. Invest in an air purifier 

Investing in an air purifier is useful for those with hay fever as it will remove pollen and dust particles from the air that trigger your symptoms. This can be extremely beneficial for clearing your sinuses, which should allow you to fall asleep quicker and more comfortably as a result.

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