Spring. The mere mention of the word brings to mind the rebirth of flowers, nature’s brighter colors, and open windows with fresh breezes. But, spring is also prime time for allergens, which can interfere mightily with your sleep patterns if you’re an allergy sufferer.
How can you avoid some of the most common unpleasant allergens?
Ditch the dust
Believe it or not, up to eighty percent of dust was or is alive. (Go ahead and get that “ewww” out of your system now) Dust is a major source of allergies and is comprised of a mix of problematic materials including pollen, pet dander, fungi, bacteria, dust mites and skin. The challenge with dust is that it isn’t always easy to see. The small particulates that can float around in your bedroom (seen when the sun shines through brightly) can carry all the materials noted above.
Clean regularly by wiping floors, furniture, doors, window sills and walls with a damp cloth to trap these small particles that you may not even see. Use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) filtered vacuum cleaner to remove the vast majority of these problematic particles. A good HEPA filter can remove 99.7 percent of all particles 0.3 microns or larger. For reference, Pollen is typically 5-200 microns; a single human hair is about 75 microns across.
Love the laundry
Ok, “love” might be a little strong for a chore that many of us really just tolerate. However, to keep allergens out be sure to wash your bedding weekly in hot water (at least 130 degrees to kill dust mites.) Use allergen barrier covers for your mattress and pillows. These simple covers can make a huge difference. If your bedding is older, it may be time to look at newer textiles for bedding that are naturally antimicrobial. Make sure all of your bedding is hypoallergenic.
And, a tip that most don’t think about, when changing your bedding be sure to vacuum your mattress (outside and inside if you can!) By keeping your mattress clean, you’re eliminating the chance for dust to be caught underneath that bedding you just worked so hard to clean. A Sleep Number bed is great for allergy sufferers because you can unzip the cover and vacuum the inside of your mattress.
Don’t forget the family
Unwanted allergens can sneak in easily even if you’re doing a great job cleaning. Undress in another room to avoid bringing in allergens from outside. During heavy pollen season, shower before bedtime to rinse off any potential invaders.
It’s not just you either. During the spring and summer months, pets will spend more time outside and are a big source of unwanted contaminants during the allergy season. So bathe them frequently (or ban them from the bedroom) to reduce the risk of their fur bringing in even more pollutants.
If you have kids, 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 and in the same thorough manner. It’s an easy habit and will keep you and your whole family sleeping better.
These simple tasks can really make a big difference in enjoying the spring and help many allergy sufferers get the quality sleep they need. If you still struggle with allergies, please take the time to contact your healthcare provider or allergist. Your sleep is important every season of the year.