If Spring for you is less about baby animals frolicking through meadows of wild flowers and more about runny noses & itchy eyes, then you are one of the many people who understand the frustration of trying to sleep with allergies!
There are some simple things you can do to help get a good nights sleep, even during allergy season. Here's 6 of our favourites:
1. Wash your bedding weekly in HOT water. A study from Yonseil University in South Korea showed that cold water killed only 5-8% of dust mites. Warm water was a little better at 7-11%, but to rid your bedding of 100% of these allergens nothing beats washing in hot (60C+) water. During pollen season, it is also recommended to use your clothes dryer (or at least dry your bedding inside) to reduce the risk of collecting airborne allergens during their time on the line.
2. Replace your pillows regularly. Old pillows harbor dust mites, bed bugs, oil, sweat and all sorts of other nasties. Dust mites in particular are a major cause of upper respiratory problems and allergies. While there is some conjecture about exactly how often you should replace your pillows (some say every 2 years, while others recommend every 6 months) we think the safest bet for allergy sufferers is to aim for at least once a year, ideally at the start of Spring.
3. Use a Saline Nasal Spray. When allergens and dust enter your nasal passages, they tend to get stuck in the membrane lining those passages. Inflammation sets in and your nose becomes swollen and clogged. Using a saline spray throughout the day and particularly at night before bed can help to clear the nose of irritants and allergens. Avoid daily use of nasal vasoconstricting nose sprays (Otrifin etc). If you've used them regularly in the past, you'll know that your nose can quickly become "addicted' .The nasal passages can swell and obstruct airway passages until the effect wears off, which can take days.
4. Manage your stress levels. We all know that it's hard to get a good nights sleep when you're anxious or stressed, but did you know that stress can also throw off your immune system balance making you more likely to succumb to allergies and illness? If you're prone to allergies, do whatever you can to manage your stress levels during Spring. It's a great time to consider taking a night time yoga class, regular meditation or diffusing a calming essential oil before bed.
5. Invest in a Silk pillowcase. Bedding items are an attractive home to allergens, and they can often contain harsh chemicals and artificial materials. Silk, on the other hand, is naturally pure and repels live allergens (such as dust mites). This is why silk is naturally hypoallergenic and great for those whose breathing and skin are irritated by these common allergens.
6. Shower before bed. Showering at night can help cleanse your hair and skin of allergens like dust, pollen and pet dander. Try adding a drop of eucalyptus oil directly onto the shower floor. As the steam rises, the eucalyptus will help ease nasal stuffiness.