Sleep Hygiene Techniques and Allergies
Sleep hygiene is more than just showering before bed, brushing your teeth, and sleeping on clean bedding. Sleep hygiene is the habits and behaviors that can help you regularly get a good night's sleep. Most of us know how important sleep is. Unfortunately, allergy symptoms can get in the way of getting proper rest. Below are just some things you can do to improve your sleep if your allergy symptoms keep you up at night.
Invest in an air purifier
For the average person, it's typically recommended that you crack your window open to get fresh air into your room at night. However, this can be detrimental for allergy sufferers, especially during high pollen season.
Researching and purchasing a quality air purifier can make a massive difference in the air quality of your home. Air filtration is immensely beneficial for those of us with allergies to remove allergens from the air. Typically, HEPA filtered air purifiers are best for those with allergies. Naturally, by having better and cleaner fresh air circulating within our homes and bodies, we may be able to sleep better.
Equip your bed with hypoallergenic bedding
Purchasing a mattress cover, pillowcases, and other hypoallergenic bedding is typically necessary for those of us with allergies. It can help decrease nightly allergy symptoms by keeping away dust mites, mold spores, and mildew from accumulating.
Medications and supplements
Prescription or over-the-counter antihistamine medications can reduce symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, and cough. Certain medications, such as Benadryl, can also make you drowsy, which can help with falling asleep.
If you'd rather stay on the natural side, Quercetin is often used as an alternative to antihistamines. Quercetin also has the potential to decrease overall inflammation due to its ability to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines.1
In addition to that, you can also take melatonin to help with sleep. Of course, always consult your doctor or team before starting any new medication or supplement.
Use a nasal dilator
If you suffer from a frequent stuffy nose due to allergies, a nasal dilator may help. In short, a nasal dilator is a small device inserted into your nose to help open up your nasal passages, which enables you to breathe easier. Along with medications or supplements, this can make breathing easier, thus aiding with restful sleep.
This is one of my personal favorites, not just for sleep. Among many other benefits, meditation is known for having a calming effect by helping regulate breathing. Even 5 to 10 minutes of meditation or stillness before bed can make a big difference. Meditation can activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Deep breathing signals your body that you are safe and can go into "rest and digest" mode. Due to the calming effects, meditation can also lower heart and breathing rates, increasing the chances of a better night's sleep.
Once I committed to a daily meditation practice, I saw so many positive changes in every aspect of my life. For me, this included a decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression, better control over allergy and atopic dermatitis symptoms, and an easier time focusing, among many others!
A restful sleep with allergies
None of the things mentioned above are guaranteed to make a significant change after just one night – or at all, for that matter. We are all different, and what works for me may not work for you. It also takes time, patience, dedication, and commitment to form new habits.
But when we find something that works for us and gives us even a little bit of relief, it can provide us with the needed hope and strength to keep going. It gives us the extra "fuel" needed to do everything in our power to make our lives more manageable and much lighter – even with the burden of allergies and other chronic health conditions.
When are you allergy symptoms the most severe?