As we come into the spring and summer months, hay fever makes sleeping a lot more difficult for thousands of people every night. Fortunately, there are ways of combating the symptoms of puffy eyes and stuffy noses that can help you retain your usual sleep pattern, even when dealing with an increased pollen count.
Here are some things you need to know, and our best tips, for how to sleep with a cold or hay fever symptoms.
Why Are My Allergies Worse at Night and in the Morning?
The main reason for hay fever being worse at night is known colloquially as pollen showers. Pollen is incredibly light, so when hot air rises during the day, it tends to carry the pollen up with it. Then, at night, the temperature cools and all of the pollen that was lifted throughout the day comes back down in one go.
In rural areas, this tends to be at the beginning of the night. However, cities tend to stay hotter for longer, so if you wake up sneezing in the middle of the night, it could well be due to the pollen shower in your built-up surroundings finally falling.
For many people, however, the worst time of day for hay fever symptoms is first thing in the morning. This is simply due to having spend the night in a bedroom full of pollen, following the previous night’s pollen shower.
How Do I Sleep with Hay Fever?
While there are antihistamines, nasal sprays, and other medications that help with the symptoms of hay fever, it’s also good to have a few behavioural tricks up your sleeve that will ease your sneezing. Here are our top five tips for sleeping with allergies.
1. Limit Exposure of Pollen to the Eyes
Being outside is unavoidable. Particularly on warmer days in the summer months, you’ll probably want to be spending more time outside, which is unfortunate considering that this is when hay fever symptoms will be at their worst.
Wearing sunglasses when you do go outside can limit the amount of pollen that gets into and irritates your eyes. Wraparound sunglasses in particular will be able to block out the most pollen, making your symptoms less irritating and giving you a better night’s sleep when you do settle down.
2. Avoid Alcohol
Although you might think a drink or two before bed will get you feeling sleepy and make it easier to fall asleep, when it comes to hay fever, it’s more the opposite.
Alcohol is dehydrating to begin with, so dries out your respiratory system and makes it a bit more difficult to breathe when on top of pre-existing cold or hay fever symptoms. However, alcohol also promotes histamine production, which is not ideal. Why? Well, histamine is what causes the cold symptoms of hay fever. That is why we take antihistamine tablets.
By consuming alcohol before bed, you could actually be making your symptoms worse. So, it’s probably best to cut down on the night caps, if you’re struggling to sleep.
3. Purchase Hypoallergenic Bed Sheets
Made from materials like bamboo or wool, hypoallergenic sheets are ideal for anyone suffering with sniffles as it is more difficult for dust and pollen to cling to their fibres. They’ll help keep some of the pollen off you at night, but they’re also good at regulating temperature, making them a good option for summer months regardless of your allergies. You should also consider investing in a mattress protector as an easily removable barrier that will keep pollen away from your bottom sheets and mattress.
The most important part of this tip, though, is that when you wash these bedsheets, you wash and dry them indoors. By hanging them up outside to dry they’ll become covered in pollen, which defeats the purpose of having these specific sheets to begin with.
4. Sleep With Your Head Slightly Elevated
Sleeping with a raised head is a common way of tackling snoring, but it also comes in handy when sleeping with allergies. By elevating the head, you can decrease some of the blockage through your respiratory system, particularly in terms of nasal congestion.
You can raise your head by stacking multiple pillows, although this can cause some strain on your neck in the morning. The best way to elevate your head is to sleep on an incline with one of our adjustable beds.
5. Have a Warm Shower Before Bed
When you’re out and about, throughout the day pollen will cling to your hair. Showering before bed will get rid of the pollen that’s immediately around your face and on your body, which will make it easier to sleep once you settle into bed.
While having a warm shower is also just a great way to relax before bed, the steam from the heat can also help clear out your sinuses and make it easier for you to breathe. Consider using eucalyptus oil, too, for a spa-like experience that will enhance this effect.
Find Your Perfect Hay Fever Setup
Now that you know some tips on how to sleep with a cold or hay fever, you can start designing the best bed setup for helping you breathe and sleep at night.
Between our adjustable beds and mattress protectors, you can find what you’re looking for at Mattressman to get your perfect night of uninterrupted summer sleep. Browse our ranges and see for yourself!