Allergies affect approximately 20% of the UK population. For some, an allergy is a year-round experience that needs to be dealt with through medication and cleanliness. For others, certain times of year trigger allergy symptoms. Around 25% of the UK population suffers from hay fever every year. This means that every year, millions more of us become vulnerable to unpleasant allergy symptoms. Due to climate change, the number of people joining the dreaded allergy club is rapidly increasing.
With allergy season rapidly approaching, bedtime is a huge trigger for many of us. Our beds are a place we spend roughly a third of our lives in, and it collects a lot of allergens in that time. Knowing how to keep our bedrooms clean and allergen-free is essential in order to get a good night’s sleep, as well as making us feel better and improve our overall health.
What Happens At Bedtime That Triggers My Allergies?
After spending a night on your sheets, your bed collects billions of bacteria. This is collected from your body and anything else that is brought into your bedroom. For those that don’t shower before bed, allergens such as dust, pollen and dirt are brought into bed onto your body from the outside world. Wearing outside clothes is a huge culprit when it comes to allergens
The longer you have sheets on your bed, the more allergens collect. The more allergens on your bed, the bigger the trigger your bed becomes. Your sheets are the equivalent of wrapping everything your body sheds around yourself for 8 hours a night. While many of us feel too lazy to wash and change our sheets, this will make us feel worse in the long run.
Certain parts of your bedding, especially your pillow, can trigger allergies. For many allergy sufferers, eczema or other rashes on your face is how your body reacts. A pillow, especially bad quality cotton pillows, collect lots of bacteria and moisture from your face. This means you’re likely spending the night with your face in a pool of your own dirt.
How Can I Prevent This?
The best thing you can do is wash and change your sheets frequently. It is recommended that you change your bedsheets at least once every two weeks. If you suffer from allergies, this should be more towards once a week. Your pillow should be changed, or at least flipped over, every two days. You may last longer with higher quality bedding. Silk bedding, for example, is much better for your skin and does not extract dirt nearly as much.
Keeping pets off your bed can help keep your bedding clean for longer. Even if you aren’t allergic to pets, their fur can cause an allergic reaction in large amounts. If you can’t resist cuddling your pet in bed, you need to change your sheets more often. If you take allergy medication, take it before bed so you’re spending the night medicated for potential triggers.
Showering at night can help decrease dirt and pollen on your bed. Washing off the bacteria of the day will ensure you’re going to bed cleaner and not taking the day’s dirt with you. Ensuring you are clean before bed means you can go longer between washing your sheets.
It may sound counteractive, but don’t open your window to let in fresh air during the day. Doing this will open your bedroom to all the pollen and other allergens from outside. Rather, it is better to use an air purifier or a fan to clean the air of irritants.