Having seasonal allergies is a struggle all day, both in the spring and fall, but for many it’s evening when problems intensify. Runny nose, sneezing, itching, tossing and turning disrupt your ability to rest. Fortunately, with a few simple lifestyle changes to help keep fall allergies at bay, so you can sleep well and wake rejuvenated.
Step 1: Keep windows closed
The first step to a good night’s rest starts long before evening by keeping windows closed. This helps limit outdoor allergens from reaching your bedroom and wreaking havoc on your ability to sleep. If you decide to open some windows in your home, keep bedroom doors and windows closed to help maintain allergen-free sleep spaces. Keep in mind, pollen counts are highest in the morning.
Step 2: Quarantine the day’s clothing
The clothes you wear during the day collect microscopic allergens like pollen and mold. Make it a habit to get undressed in a room other than your bedroom and place dirty clothes immediately in the laundry room. This way any allergens on clothing won’t be shaken into the air in your bedroom where they can irritate you while sleeping.
Step 3: Wash well before bed
During allergy season consider changing your sleep routine to include an evening shower. This is one of the best ways to remove allergens from your body to help you sleep soundly. Additionally, the steam from the shower helps open and clear nasal passages so you can breathe easier. If you can’t shower, make sure at minimum to wash your hands and face well before bed.
Step 4: Take nighttime allergy medicine
Step 5: Allergy-proof your bed
Many people with allergies find allergy-proof mattress and pillow covers are a worthwhile investment. Remember to wash bedding weekly and use a dryer rather than placing items outside to dry. The Mayo Clinic recommends washing all sheets, blankets, pillowcases and bedcovers in hot water at least 130 degrees F to kill dust mites and remove allergens1. For items that can’t be washed hot — such as decorative pillows and stuffed animals — place in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at 130 degrees F or higher.
Step 6: Use pillows to raise the head
Congestion often gets worse when you lay down to bed because gravity no longer helps mucus move through your system. To help encourage natural drainage, prop your head on a pillow. Some people even use two pillows when symptoms flair to help encourage drainage so they can breathe easier at night. Bonus: this might help prevent snoring as well.
No one should sacrifice sleep due to their allergies. With these simple steps, you’ll be ready to sleep well even when allergy season is in full effect. Mayo Clinic, 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dust-mites/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352178