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Wild flowers in a meadow that can be a cause of hay fever
  • Article

5 min read

how to stop hay fever and allergies ruining your sleep

With the warmer weather, more daylight hours and not to mention the dreaded hay fever symptoms, it’s no surprise that summer can be a difficult season for many when it comes to getting quality sleep. Whether seasonal or year-round, hay fever and allergies are no fun, and along with a blocked, runny nose and itchy eyes, many allergy sufferers are more likely to experience poor quality sleep too. A lack of decent sleep can lead to feeling fatigued during the day, and weaken your immune system which may lead to further issues,, but try not to lose hope as there are a number of things that you can do to combat allergy symptoms, so you can sleep and feel better. Read on to find out just how hay fever and allergies can affect your sleep, along with our top tips on how you can get a better night’s sleep when suffering from hay fever.

how hay fever and allergies can affect your sleep

There are two main reasons why hay fever and allergies lead to poor quality sleep - uncomfortable symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing and watery eyes, caused by allergens entering your nose and irritating the nasal passages, affect your ability to breathe easily and usually worsen at night. The type of sleep issues that can arise from allergies include insomnia, trouble falling and staying asleep, increased snoring and a higher risk of sleep apnea.

When allergies affect the quality and amount of sleep you get, they can have an impact on your quality of life too. When you’ve had a poor night’s sleep, you are more likely to experience fatigue and feel irritable the next day, and being tired impairs performance and has a negative effect on wellbeing too. Without good quality sleep, anxiety and stress levels tend to be higher, therefore making it harder to fall asleep. Allergies don’t just make it more difficult to fall asleep, they make it harder to stay asleep as well, as sufferers often wake up in the middle of the night with a congested nose, or a sneezing or coughing fit and over time this type of allergy related sleep deprivation can soon add up and create a vicious cycle.

why is hay fever worse at night?

There are a couple of reasons why hay fever is worse at night for some people, which does sound a bit odd, as surely you’re more exposed to pollen when out and about in the fresh air rather than at night. One reason is the pollen shower phenomenon - this is when during the day hot air rises and with this, pollen is carried alongside it. At night, the air cools down, beginning a downward drift, and the pollen then falls with the air, so this is why you are more likely to wake up with hay fever symptoms during the night.

Bedtime factors are another reason why your symptoms worsen at night. Many people who suffer from hay fever also suffer from other allergies too, such as pet dander and dust mites. Dust mites thrive in humid locations and are commonly found in sheets, pillows, mattresses and bedroom carpets, meaning you are exposed as soon as you go to bed. Furthermore, just the fact of simply laying down worsens symptoms, as mucus causes congestion in the nasal area. So, how do I stop hay fever in my bedroom? The key to alleviating your allergy symptoms is to make your bedroom environment as allergen-free as you possibly can.

how do you stop hay fever symptoms at night?

Sleeping with hay fever and allergies sure can be tough, and one thing for sure is prevention is better than cure. So, make sure to follow these top tips to help stop hay fever and allergies wreaking havoc on your sleep.

Put a spare sheet over your duvet - Placing a sheet over your duvet helps to form a pollen barrier, helping to prevent allergens from gathering on your bed.  Just simply remove before getting into bed.

Wash your bedding at 60C - Washing your bedding often, ensures pollen particles aren’t sitting on your sheets. Wash at 60C, as this will remove pollen particles and dust mites. Also, avoid drying your bedding outside, as pollen can land and stick on the sheets.

Choose anti-allergy bedding - Investing in hypoallergenic bedding will protect against bacteria and dust mites, helping to prevent allergies. The Silentnight Anti-Allergy bedding range has been approved by the British Allergy Foundation and is scientifically tested and proven to reduce or remove allergens, which means you get a more restful and comfortable night’s sleep.

Take an antihistamine 30 minutes before going to bed - This will help keep allergies at bay throughout the night, allowing for a more peaceful sleep.

Keep windows and doors closed - Although it’s tempting to throw open your windows and doors on warm, sunny days, it’s really not a good idea, as pollen particles can enter your house and stick to bedding and furniture.

Check the pollen report - It’s a good idea to check the pollen report, so you can prepare yourself before opening any windows or venturing outside.

Use an air purifier to help you sleep better - Air purifiers help to improve sleep for allergy sufferers by clearing the air of allergens in your bedroom.

Take a shower before bed - Having a shower before bed helps to wash pollen away and making showers part of your bedtime routine means you’ll always be clean before bed.

Rinse your eyes and nose before going to bed - Pollen can land on your eyelashes and nose hairs, further irritating your allergies, so rinse your eyes and nose before getting into bed to remove any particles. 

Dab a little petroleum jelly on your nostrils - Just a small dab of petroleum jelly to the outside of each nostril will help trap any pollen particles. The particles will stick to the petroleum jelly instead of going up your nose, helping to prevent sneezing during the night.

Pull long hair away from your face - It’s a good idea to tie up long hair to prevent pollen particles falling on to your face and further irritating your allergies.

Allergies and hay fever can certainly affect your sleep, but if you stay proactive, you can start taking the steps needed to control your symptoms, so you can get the quality sleep your body needs.

Author - Liz Tabron

Liz Tabron

Liz has over 7 years' experience in writing lifestyle, home, health, and eco content. Liz's mission is to make accessible our expert team's knowledge.