10 ways to get a restful night’s sleep with hay fever

As we move into the thick of summer season, pesky hay fever symptoms continue to wreak havoc for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, even at night.

Allergies | Stress and sleep

Dominique Vanier
Dominique Vanier

29 June 2017

Restless nights for allergy sufferers

Pollen allergies affect up to 30 percent of the adult population and 40 percent of children. Besides causing watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion, they also tenaciously interrupt sleep for the majority of allergy sufferers.

Compared to the general population, those with hay fever have greater difficulty falling and staying asleep. Many of these individuals also disturb their partner’s sleep due to sneezing, sniffling, and noisy mouth breathing.

Symptoms that worsen at night and early hours of the morning can be associated with the location of pollen in the atmosphere. Since pollen tends to rise to the lower atmosphere throughout the day and drops to the ground as temperatures decline into the evening, exposure to pollen can increase at night.

Adding salt to the wound, many trees and flowers release pollen in the early morning, leading to extra grogginess and itchy, red, and swollen eyes.

If your suffering prevents you from having a restful night’s sleep, there are many simple things you can do to improve your shut-eye and make your home more hay fever-friendly.

  1. Close your windows. Shut pollen out by keeping your windows closed during the day and at night to prevent pollen from entering the home. This will help decrease your total pollen exposure.
  2. Change your linens. While it is not possible to completely prevent pollen contamination of the home, washing bed linens can help remove traces of pollen that make their way to the bedroom and keep your immune system on high surveillance at night.
  3. Keep pets from the bedroom. Pets are an excellent vehicle for the transport of pollen from their fur to your bed sheets (especially if they are outdoor pets). Keeping furry loved ones away from the bedroom can help lead to a better night’s rest.
  4. Wash your hair. Your pillow can act as a medium that transfers pollen from your hair to your nasal passages when you toss and turn to sleep. Washing your hair before bed will remove the pollen that has stuck to your hair during your day’s activities.
  5. Clean the house. Pollen settles on various surfaces in the home, such as on blinds, carpets, and mixed in with dust. Eliminating pollen from these areas will reduce overall pollen load in the household. However, since dusting can kick up allergen particles into the air, ensure to use a damp cloth and wear a dust mask while cleaning to avoid exacerbating symptoms.
  6. Invest in clean household air. A “high efficiency particulate air” filter (or HEPA filter) cleans the air by trapping dust and allergen particles – and can even act as a white noise maker to help you sleep better at night.
  7. Avoid late nights. Although sleeping through the night may be difficult, setting a late bedtime can exacerbate allergy symptoms, since lack of sleep suppresses immune system function.
  8. Eat anti-inflammatory foods. Including anti-inflammatory foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and chia in your diet may help reduce overall inflammation and hay fever symptoms.
  9. Find symptomatic relief. Clear your nose of pollen just before bed by trying an allergy nasal spray, such as Allergy Relief Nasal Spray, which can help restore moisture to the irritated mucous membranes in the nose.
  10. Plan ahead! Keep tabs on the local pollen count in your area and plan accordingly.

Ensure to work with your primary healthcare provider for an appropriate treatment plan and to help keep your symptoms at bay.