Allergens are a common enemy to a good night’s sleep.

Given the amount of time we spend sleeping, it is important to ensure that our exposure to allergens is minimised at night.

House dust mites are a common allergy symptom trigger amongst our customers. These tiny creatures can be found in virtually all homes, and are thought to be particularly prevalent in the bedroom. They thrive in humid environments and survive on organic matter (such as broken down skin cells and cellulose fibres from textiles). Unfortunately, most bedrooms provide these exact conditions and food sources, enabling dust mites to reproduce rapidly.

If you have house dust mite allergy, you might experience some of the following symptoms (which may be worse in the mornings after a night in bed with the mites, or when making beds or cleaning, which distributes mite allergens into the air):

  • Nasal congestion and a runny nose
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinusitis
  • Worsened eczema and dermatitis

 

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s best to get your GP to do some investigations to rule out any other causes. If you suspect you have house dust mite allergy, an allergen avoidance approach is what we recommend. Some companies suggest using acaricide treatments (pesticides which kill mites) but we prefer a chemical-free approach wherever possible.

Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to help reduce your exposure to dust mites without using harsh chemicals.

Visit our dust mite allergy information hub for a comprehensive guide on how to mite-proof your home, or read the following quick tips:

  • De-clutter your bedroom; not only does this create a calmer atmosphere, it also reduces the ‘hiding space’ for mites and other allergens and makes it easier for you to clean.
  • Use dust mite proof barrier cases on your pillows, duvet and mattress. These are woven extremely tightly so that the mites in your bedding are unable to break through the surface.
  • Alternatively, you can use dust mite proof pillows and duvets along with a mattress case (these have an in-built dust mite proof casing).
  • Wash your bed linens weekly at temperatures 60 degrees C or over.
  • Ventilate your room well and air your bed in the morning to reduce the heat and humidity that the mites need to survive.
  • Practise a thorough cleaning regime, including damp dusting, vacuuming with a HEPA filter and using specialist natural allergy sprays.
  • Use an air purifier or steriliser that removes airborne dust mite allergens. The Radic8 and Airfree ranges are particularly good for this, as they also reduce fungi that dust mites need to live on.
  • Keep relative humidity under 51% (but not below 40%). You can use a hygrometer to measure this. If your room is too humid, consider using a dehumidifier.

Pet allergens

This is a simple one. If you have pet allergy, hay fever, dust mite allergy or mould allergy, keep pets out of the bedroom!

Not only do they carry allergenic dander, they also have a tendency to pick up allergens on their coats and carry them throughout the home. Keep furry friends confined to certain areas of the house and consider using an air purifier and HEPA vacuum cleaner to ‘mop up’ any residual airborne allergens.

If you share your bedroom with anyone who works with animals, ask them to remove their shoes and change their clothes when coming home.

Moulds

Levels of warmth and humidity found in many bedrooms often lend themselves to mould growth. Many people are unaware of the potentially serious effects that moulds can have on your health. You can read more about mould allergy at our allergy information hub.

Serious mould problems need to be tackled at the source and you may need to instruct a professional to do so. Once the mould itself is removed, prevent it from coming back by following these tips:

  • Keep humidity low (below 51%) using a dehumidifier.
  • Use a hygrometer (humidity meter) to monitor humidity levels closely to ensure they do not creep up or get too low, which can aggravate respiratory problems.
  • Consider using an air steriliser to remove airborne spores (the Aifree range and Radic8 200 are particularly brilliant at this!)
  • A mould test kit can help to reveal exactly what levels of moulds you are dealing with.
  • Keeping bedding clean and dry and searching for specialist waterproof or anti-fungal bedding can help to keep the spores out of your bed.

Pollens

Sleeping peacefully at night can be a real challenge for pollen allergy sufferers, particularly at peak seasons.

Again, an allergen avoidance approach is often effective, although we understand that severe symptoms often require medication to enable sufferers to go about their daily business.

When the pollen count is high, keep the windows and doors shut in your bedroom (at night and throughout the day). Keeping pets out of the bedroom and changing clothes and footwear before entering the bedroom can also help to reduce the amount of allergens brought in.

Showering and washing your hair before bed can also be advisable, as pollens can ‘stick’ to your skin and hair.

Allergens can attach themselves to washing drying outside, so consider drying your bed linens indoors instead on high pollen count days.

An air purifier in the bedroom can be very helpful for removing airborne pollens.  Applying a little barrier balm such as HayMax under your nostrils before bed can help to trap pollens before they are inhaled, and soothe sore noses too!


Please note: Information included in this website is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with a medical practitioner.