Not showering before bed? You might be making your hay fever worse

As much as we may adore sun-soaked summer days, the warmer season inevitably brings something less beloved with it. You guessed it — with the arrival of summer, the pesky hay fever season is now well and truly upon us.

We all know how much of a dampener hay fever can be, but according to sleep expert Max Kirsten, the simple act of having a shower before bed could massively help with alleviating symptoms. Washing away the day — and all of the pollen you've accumulated on your body throughout it — could be the difference between a sleepless night and uninterrupted snoozing.

'Showering before bed is crucial for preventing hay fever symptoms because it effectively removes pollen, dust, and other allergens that accumulate on your skin, hair, and clothing throughout the day,' Kirsten explains. 'During the day, these microscopic particles settle on your body from the environment, particularly if you spend time outdoors. If not washed off before bed, these allergens can transfer to your bedding and pillows, creating a constant exposure throughout the night.'

You heard it here first: skipping your nighttime shower could lead to your sleep space becoming an hotbed of pollen and dust. According to Kirsten, this exposure to allergens can aggravate hay fever symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes and throat irritation, which inevitably interrupts sleep.

'By showering before bedtime, you significantly reduce the allergen load on your body, thereby minimising the risk of transferring these irritants to your sleeping environment,' Kirsten says. 'This simple practice helps create a cleaner and more allergen-free space, promoting better sleep quality and reducing the severity of nighttime hay fever symptoms.'

Beyond showering before bed, what other healthy habits can we implement to soothe hay fever and allergy symptoms?

Change and wash bedding regularly

One of the best ways of staying on top of your allergies is by implementing a regimented bedding cleaning routine. 'Wash your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets in hot water at least once a week to remove allergens,' Kirsten advices. 'Use hypoallergenic covers for your mattress and pillows to create a barrier against dust mites and other allergens.'

Keep your windows closed

Tempting as it may be to crack open a window during humid summer nights, doing so allows allergens to enter your bedroom and potentially make your symptoms worse overnight. Kirsten emphasises the importance of keeping your windows closed in the evenings, 'especially during high pollen seasons'.

Use an air purifier

Investing in an air purifier could make the world of difference when it comes to eliminating allergens. 'An air purifier with a HEPA filter can help remove allergens from the air in your bedroom, improving air quality and reducing allergic reactions,' Kirsten says.

Keep pets out of the bedroom

Believe it or not, your pets might be exacerbating your hay fever symptoms, too. 'Pets can carry pollen, dust, and dander into your bedroom,' Kirsten explains. 'Keeping them out of your sleeping area can reduce your exposure to these allergens.'

Clean floors and surfaces

Regularly vacuuming and dusting your bedroom is an effective way to get rid of allergens. 'Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to ensure that allergens are effectively trapped,' Kirsten advises.

Avoid outdoor activities before bedtime

Kirsten advises avoiding activities that increase your exposure to allergens before bed. Perhaps, opt for an early morning run or midday Pilates class rather than a late-night workout sesh, if you're keen to keep hay fever symptoms at bay.

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