Don’t let allergies prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. To protect yourself, the best strategy is to either eliminate the source of the allergy, or to minimize your exposure to it.
Something that’s creepy, but valuable, to think about is the fact that up to 80 percent of the dust in your bedroom either was, or still is, ALIVE. Dust is comprised of pollen, pet dander, skin, fungi, bacteria, dust mites, and other unwanted irritants. Dust is a major source of allergies and not just the visible dust “bunnies” on the floor. The airborne dust seen in the rays of sunlight shining through the window contain the same materials. If you suffer from allergies, start working to remove the dust in your environment. I know this can be easier said than done, but here are four tips to get you started:
1) Clean. Make sure you regularly clean your bedroom, especially if you have carpets and/or drapes. Wipe floors, furniture, and tops of doors, window sills and walls with a damp cloth to trap particles. Use a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner and invest in a HEPA air purifier. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arresting. These filters remove 99.7% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger. Pollen is typically 5-200 microns, a human hair about 75 microns across.
2) Wash fabric often. Launder your bedding weekly in hot water—at least 130 degrees to kill dust mites. Use allergen barrier covers for you mattress and bed pillows. Invest in some of the newer textiles for bedding that are naturally antimicrobial. Mattress pads, sheets, pillow protectors, comforters and blankets woven with threads of pure silver have been shown to provide safe and a high level of protection from bacteria and fungus. Make sure all of your bedding is hypoallergenic. When changing your bedding, vacuum your mattress. In fact, the Sleep Number bed can be vacuumed inside as well as outside.
3) Leave the dust outside. Undress in another room to avoid bringing in allergens from outside. During heavy pollen season, shower before bedtime. Our pets spend more time outdoors during the spring and summer months and are a big source of unwanted contaminants during the allergy season. So, bathe them frequently (or ban them from the bedroom).
4) Don’t forget the kids. In your children’s rooms, don’t forget about the stuffed animals. They are an excellent breeding ground for dust mites. Launder them as often as you do your bedding.
If you don’t air condition the house, invest in a dehumidifier. Dust mites and other growths thrive in humidity over 50 percent. If all else fails and your sleep is still interrupted by your allergies, consult your primary health-care provider—or your allergist. Sleep is too important to compromise!