News & Blog

Allergies and Sleep – Do You Suffer?

Apr 21, 2023

Did you know: One in four UK residents suffer from hay fever and more than one in ten experience symptoms associated with asthma? 

As part of Allergy Awareness Week (24 – 30 April), we are helping to raise awareness about allergies and the difficulties they cause people in their day-to-day lives – sleep is just one of them!  

As we step into Spring, allergy sufferers, particularly those affected by hay fever can experience trouble sleeping. Often, the middle of May marks a sharp rise in the pollen count, while dust mites that favour residence in household beds can also trigger symptoms associated with hay fever and asthma. 

So, we have some top tips to ensure a restful night’s sleep:

  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom between 16c and 18c 
  • Remove flowers from bedrooms (opt for artificial plants instead) 
  • Wash duvet covers and pillowcases regularly at a high temperature (this kills mites and removes mite faeces) 
  • If hot washing is not possible, 24 hours in the freezer will kill any mites in a pillow prior to a cold wash 
  • Leave your duvet turned back during the day 
  • Avoid drying clothes on radiators in the bedroom 
  • If you can, take your mattress outside for a good airing and then replace it upside-down and opposite-ways-round to its previous positioning 
  • Clean the base with a soft brush to remove fluff and dust – if you have to use a vacuum cleaner do so very carefully and with the window wide open 
  • While the bed is moved out from any walls, vacuum thoroughly under and around the bed – it can yield huge amounts of dust and fluff 
  • Severe reaction to pollen? Consider a mechanical ventilator – fans which bring in fresh air through pollen filters 

It can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t get to sleep because of an allergy, and lack of sleep leads to lots of other problems such as reduced concentration, bad moods to feeling lethargic. And, it can lead to more serious problems if not solved. 

Practicing good sleep hygiene and creating a sleep-friendly environment will enhance your chances of falling asleep, staying asleep and sleeping well. 

This includes a cool temperature of around 16 to 18 degrees, reducing humidity, eliminating distractions, such as banning mobiles and tablets in the hour before bed, and sleeping on a comfortable, supportive bed. 

It’s important to be consistent – especially as we move into spring as the increased daylight hours, the start of warmer weather and the onset of allergy season can really impact on sleep 

As pollen count rises, the key to keeping allergens at bay is to minimise exposure to them. 

The house dust mite, prevalent in bedrooms, can be a problem for many, so air your bed each morning and regularly clean mattresses, pillows and bedding. 

Remember: you are not alone! If you want to speak to a professional, we have a National Sleep Helpline. Find out more here 03303 530 541