Hay fever season kicks off in late March and runs for five months until the autumn month of 1st September. Still, it’s already starting to wreak havoc2 – a tricky time for those sensitive to pollen, especially regarding bedtime.
To help you get prepped and ready to tackle wheezy coughs and runny noses, Dr Hana Patel, a resident sleep expert at Time4Sleep, shares her top eight tips.
Dr Patel comments on the symptoms to look out for: “There are several different symptoms that my patients regularly flag to me during hay fever season. These include a blocked nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and increased coryzal symptoms, commonly known as a runny nose. Some patients also suffer from a cough and even wheezing.”
“Hay fever occurs when we come into contact with pollen which irritates our sinuses, so if you find that your sleep is being disturbed by these symptoms, then it’s likely that you’re suffering from hay fever.”
Why do we suffer from hay fever symptoms at night?
Dr Patel says: “The pollen count is usually the lowest before dawn and in the late afternoon to early evening.”
“Hay fever can be worse at night as pollen rises into the air during the day and falls onto surfaces like our clothes or bedding as the air cools at night. Contact with these items can then cause hay fever symptoms.”
Eight sleep tips this hay fever season
Opt for an early night
Hay fever sufferers tend to report worsening symptoms in the early morning hours, so perhaps having an early night to counteract this disturbed sleep may help.
Shower before bed
Showering before bedtime can help remove pollen and allergens that may have landed on your body throughout the day, reducing your hay fever symptoms before bedtime.
Regularly wash your clothes
Washing your clothes daily during peak pollen count, especially if you have been out during the day, can also help reduce symptoms. Opt to use a dryer rather than hanging clothes outside, as this will only bring pollen back into the home.
Keep your room clean
Cleaning your room more frequently in hay fever season can also help reduce your symptoms, especially regarding bedtime. I’d recommend a weekly bedroom refresh, wiping all surfaces and washing bedding; if you’re particularly sensitive to pollen, consider this routine twice a week.
Snooze separately to your pets
Pet hair and dander, made up of microscopic dead skin cells from pets that they naturally shed, are two common allergens that can irritate your hay fever, so consider sleeping in a separate room from your pet to relieve symptoms at night.
Keep windows closed
Be sure to close your windows at night to avoid pollen and other allergens from entering the room as you sleep. Keep your windows closed at all times, reducing the need to clean your bedroom and bedding frequently.
Elevate your head during sleep
Hay fever sufferers also report that sleeping with their heads elevated can make it easier to help them breathe through their nose at night and avoid snoring which can aggravate symptoms. This position can also help with reducing congestion caused by allergies.
Consider hypoallergenic bedding
Medical studies support using hypoallergenic bedding products to relieve hay fever and dust mite allergy symptoms, so consider making the switch if you’re feeling the itch.
Synthetic pillows and acrylic duvets are great options, as well as looking out for products made from naturally hypoallergenic materials like cotton and memory foam.