Hay fever affects thousands of brits every year, and often symptoms can be a real nuisance, if not debilitating. Most people assume that symptoms only occur during the day, when you’re out and about, but actually symptoms are just as likely to affect you during the night. This is because when pollen particles enter your home during the day, they will often settle on soft furnishings, fabrics and bed linen which could mean your allergies are set off at night leaving for a disturbed sleep.
Here, Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and online health advisor for OnlinePrescriptionDoctor reveals his tips for how you can stop hay fever allergies from ruining your sleep.
Wash bedding once a week (on a hot setting)
Make sure you wash your bedding more often to ensure pollen particles aren’t sitting in the sheets, when drying them you should do this indoors and not outdoors as pollen from the trees will most likely land on the sheets and sit in the creases or stick to them. In regards to washing sheets, most people wash sheets on 40 degrees however we would recommend setting it to 60 degrees to ensure all germs and pollen particles are removed.
Keep doors and windows shut
Shut all windows in your bedroom as soon as you can to prevent pollen particles making their way from outside and into your room, these will attach themselves to furniture and linen such as bedding which could leave you to suffer with allergies when you go to sleep. Shutting all doors and windows takes seconds and will mean your room isn’t full of allergens such as dust mites and pollen particles.
Shower more regularly
Before you head into fresh sheets, make sure you take a shower and wash your hair if you’ve been out all day – pollen particles can easily stick to your skin and hair and these may make their way into your nasal passages, eyes or mouth in the night when you move around promoting allergies. Depending on what you have to do in the shower, this should take no longer than 10 minutes.
Wash your face and try a nasal cleanse before bed
If you don’t want or have time to shower, just ensuring you wash your face thoroughly including eyes and nose to remove any sitting pollen particles is imperative. This can be done using just a cool damp cloth or adding soap which shouldn’t cost too much. A nasal cleanse, or sinus cleanse is a great way to rid of any lingering irritants which have attached themselves high up into the hairs of your nasal passage. Do this using a salt water solution once or twice a day.
Keep your home clean
If you don’t fancy washing your sheets constantly, another great tip for preventing allergens from sitting on your bedding is by throwing over a big sheet in the day, this will act as a barrier and you can take it off each evening and your bedding should be safe from particles. You should also clean your bedroom regularly, especially hoovering your carpet as this will get rid of any lingering pollen particles.
Take an antihistamine before bed
Hay fever medication such as Fexofenadine taken before bed should keep any allergies at bay and allow for a peaceful slumber. Steroid nasal sprays can also be used to reduce symptoms such as a blocked, stuffy or runny nose, itchiness in the nose and sneezing.
Tie hair back
If you don’t want to wash your hair at night, tie it up in a high ponytail or bun to ensure that it doesn’t go in your face at night as pollen particles stuck in the strands could make their way to your face.
Try an eye mask
This might sound like a silly tip, but wearing an eye mask to bed could actually prevent you from getting allergies in your eyes from pollen sitting on your sheets. Once the pollen makes its way into your eye it will cause itchiness and irritation. Wearing an eye mask will create a barrier between your eyes and your pillowcase, providing you keep your mask somewhere safe like a drawer where it wont get pollen particles on it.
Try some Vaseline
Before bed, dab a small amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the outside of each nostril, this will act as a trap for any lingering pollen particles in the atmosphere or on your sheets which could find their way to your face. The particles will stick to the Vaseline as opposed to going up your nose and should help to prevent any sneezing or itchiness in the night.