Allergies are common and thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives, according to the NHS. If you have an allergy that disrupts your sleep, we look at what could be causing it, the symptoms to look for and how anti-allergy bedding works.
What causes night-time allergies?
When it comes to bedding allergies, we’re mainly talking about dust mites, which some people are allergic to. These small insects love warm temperatures and high humidity. Carpets, soft furnishings and clothing are some of their favourite hiding places, but it’s while in bed you’ll be exposed to them most. Gross fact – it’s actually not the insects themselves that cause an allergic reaction – it’s their droppings!
What are the symptoms of a dust mite allergy?
Common reactions include:
- shortness of breath
- running/itchy nose
- itchy, watering eyes
Note that other allergens which include mould, household chemicals and insect bites can also cause these symptoms.
What’s anti-allergy bedding?
If your bed linen is labelled anti-allergy, either its casing and filling have been treated with a protective coating or it’s been made with a special, tightly woven fabric. This barrier helps prevent exposure to dust mites and reduce the risk of any allergic reactions.
You can also opt for down or feather fillings which are breathable, which helps to reduce moisture and the creation of damp conditions.
What’s hypoallergenic bedding?
If bed linen is hypoallergenic, it means its actual material and filling are allergen resistant. Silk, cotton and bamboo fabrics are known to have these qualities. They’re breathable which helps to reduce moisture so dust mites and other allergens cannot thrive.
How else can I control dust mites?
As well as investing in anti-allergy bedding, you should:
- Wash your sheets once a week on a high temperature – experts recommend 60 degrees.
- Wash duvets every 2-3 months – always read the cleaning instructions on the label first.
- Allow your bed to air out in the mornings instead of making it straight away - this will help moisture to escape.
- Wash stuffed toys regularly and try to keep them off your bed (yes, we know they look cute).
- Steam clean soft furnishings like curtains and carpets.
- Vacuum your mattress for a deep clean in the winter, and again in spring.