Why your bedroom can be the cause of your allergies
You wake up in the morning with itchy eyes, runny nose and a gloomy feeling. What could be the reason for this? Maybe you spent part of the day exposed to pollen or just "something in the air." Or maybe it's from your bed.
We think of our bedrooms as temples, far from the outside world. Those of us with allergies crave this refuge even more - with the windows down and the air purifiers on, we have complete control over what we are exposed to. Yet many of us neglect this common storage space for mites and other unpleasant, allergenic substances.
Could your bed or pillows be the source of your allergies? Let's take a closer look.
How often do people have allergic reactions to their own bedrooms? More often than we might think. Studies reveal that:
• More than half of people who have allergies when they are indoors have the most severe symptoms after spending time in their bedrooms
• Most of these people react to mites, the most common allergen indoors
These numbers can be shocking, but there is a reason why so many people suffer from allergies in the bedroom and it's not just cleaning habits. Even if you regularly vacuum your bedroom, clean the air conditioning filter and change your sheets, dust mites can find support in mattresses and pillows.
What exactly are mites?
Unlike bedbugs and cockroaches, these insect pests are invisible to the naked eye. Microscopic mites thrive in areas with moderate to high humidity. They feed on human skin cells, so high-traffic areas such as your bed and sofa create a cozy home.
Although some websites insist that mites can double the weight of your pillow or mattress, there is no evidence for these claims. However, this does not mean that these reptiles are harmless! Signs of allergy to dust mites include:
• Stuffy nose
• Itching in the eyes and nose
• Sore throat and cough
• Skin irritation
Your symptoms may be worse if you have asthma or other respiratory health problems.
Dust mites are not the only possible culprit for nocturnal allergy attacks. Your mattress can also be a place to store:
• Pet dander
How does it work? In many cases, there is enough space between the fibers of the mattress and the pillow for small pests and microscopic particles to take root and grow. In a humid environment or bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms, mold and mildew exacerbate the situation.
And of course, there is no easy way to clean the inside of your mattress. So what can you do? One solution is to protect your bed from allergens as best as you can.
Steps to combat allergens in the bedroom
Having a clean sleeping environment is an important step towards better sleep. The key to eliminating dust mites and other allergens is elimination and prevention. First, thoroughly clean the environment of your bedroom. This means:
• Using vacuum cleaner and cleaning of all surfaces
• Washing the floor to remove dust
• Washing of curtains, carpets and textiles
• Cleaning the mattress with steam
• Washing or replacing pillows
• Replacement of filters in the air conditioner or air purifier
Remember to wear a mask if you think you are sensitive to these allergens. You will mix them before you get rid of them. If necessary, have someone else clean the room.
We recommend the following practices to keep your bedroom allergen-free:
Moisture from the environment can allow the development of mold and mildew. In addition, dust mites need moist air to survive. These creatures do not drink water, but rather absorb it from the atmosphere. They cannot survive in dry areas or in rooms equipped with effective dehumidifiers.
Use an air filter
The HEPA air filter can help capture common household allergens. If problem particles circulate in the air, a high-quality filter can reduce the severity of symptoms.
Change the bed linen weekly
Don't give mites a chance to live in your bed. Many people with allergies wait 2-3 weeks to change their bed linen or wash at temperatures below 40 degrees. If you try to avoid allergens, you should wash more regularly and with very hot water.
Keep your pet out of bed
As much as you love cuddling with your furry friend, pet dander is a major source of allergies. If yours are serious, you may want to encourage your pet to sleep in another room.
Use zippered cases
If there are dust mites in your mattress or pillow, the zippered case can catch them there. If there are none, the zippered case will protect them from pests.
Are there carpets in your room? For dust mites, this is just a small jump from the floor to your bed. Remove flooring and choose synthetic curtains that are less hospitable to dust and mites.
Change the pillows regularly
Do you use the same pillows from your student years? Unless you're still at university, you probably need a replacement. We sweat on our pillows. That is why they should be changed every 1-2 years.
If you follow these steps, you will significantly reduce the presence of allergens in your bedroom. Of course, maintaining a similar protocol in other rooms of the house can help support your efforts for better sleep.