If you or any of your little ones suffer from a specific allergy it might be possible to quickly identify the culprit and tackle it head-on. Say by switching pillows or light bulbs. Alas, many of us simply fall into the category of allergic to the world.

Sleep deprivation has a very real impact on your physical and mental health, and your academic performance. If you combine sleepless nights with allergy filled days then summer really is the darkest time of the year.

Don’t despair completely, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the chances of allergies ruining your sleep…

Choose Better Bedding

If you or your kids suffer from nighttime allergies and you haven’t discovered anti-allergy bedding yet, where have you been?

Switching from traditional materials to bedding made with fabrics designed specifically to prevent allergens from sneaking into your mattress can be an easy win.

While you’re at it maybe double check that the thing you’re sleeping on isn’t made from any materials that can do your health further harm.

Wash your Bedding Frequently

Even if you have anti-allergy bedding, to keep the amount of dust, dead skin, pollen and animal hair you have in your sheets to a minimum you simply must wash your bedding frequently. At least once a week.

Your pillows may look lovely, clean and white, but just remember for eight hours a night you’re mushing your nose and mouth right into them. Even the smallest traces of allergens are going to easily have a big impact on your respiration and congestion levels.

Ensure that when you wash your bedding you do so in water at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature. This is important to kill off any dust mites that may be hanging around.

Shower Before Bed

Having a nice hot shower before bed is a great way to counteract some of the effects of nighttime allergies. Firstly having a good rinse will remove the invisible layer of dust, pollen and any other pesky allergens that you may have picked up during the course of the day.

Secondly, the steam from the shower should help to open up any stuffed up passages and ease nasal stuffiness. To increase the decongesting power of the steam why not add a little eucalyptus oil to proceedings. Ahhh, take a nice deep breath!

Change Position

It might sound inconsequential but sleeping with your head propped higher up by pillows can make a big difference to how severe your nighttime allergy symptoms may appear.

Why? Well, it’s basically all down to gravity. The flatter you lie in the bed the more the mucus will simply collect and the more congested you will feel as a result. For an easy win just prop yourself up a little.

No Pets Allowed

If you suffer from allergies then your bedroom should be a pet free zone. That means keep Muffles out all day, every day. It’s no good letting your furry friend sleep on the bed during the daytime and then kicking them out at night. The damage will have already been done.

Even if you’re not specifically allergic to the pet dander itself, let’s face it your four-legged friends are basically mobile dirt sponges. On their wanderings around the house and garden, their hairy little bodies will collect all the things you’re trying your hardest to avoid. Allergens like dirt, dust, and pollen. Unbeknownst to them, as they roll around looking cute, they will then transfer all of this to your bed linen.

Put a Cap on the Nightcap

Let’s end with a tip aimed squarely at you parents now. Once you’ve tucked the nippers away in bed it can be very tempting to relax and unwind with a nice glass of vino (or three) on the couch. Well, it turns out that sleep and drink make poor bedfellows indeed. Especially if you suffer from nighttime allergies.

Not only will having a drink or two before bed mean you will be less likely to sleep soundly through the night. Studies have found that alcohol before bed can worsen, or even trigger, common symptoms of hay fever and asthma, like sneezing, itchin, and headaches. This is especially true in women.

It transpires that wine, beer and liquor all contain histamine as a result of the fermentation process used during production. Histamine, all you allergy fighters out there will be well aware of course, is the chemical that triggers allergy symptoms.

So, parents if you suffer from any allergies yourself, increase your own odds of sleeping soundly tonight by skipping the nightcap.

Final Thoughts on Nighttime Allergies

It’s impossible for you to keep every single atom of pollen from your bedroom, but you can certainly make sure the room in which you sleep is as decontaminated as possible. It might take a little extra effort but the effect it has on your sleep could be tremendous.

Just think, no more going to sleep with two bits of rolled up tissue jammed up your nostrils!

Subscribe for DrGreene’s Newsletter

Sarah Cummings DrGreene.com contributor

Read more on: Sleep Habits