5 ways to allergy-proof your bedroom for better sleep, according to experts

 A woman sneezing and blowing her nose in bed.
A woman sneezing and blowing her nose in bed.

With the warmer weather approaching, you might notice a few disruptions to your sleep, and not just because of the heat. The pollen count is rising and we’re firmly in allergy season, so if you’re someone who suffers with hay fever and allergies, you might be experiencing a restless, itchy and sneezy night’s sleep.

You might not think it, but your allergies can actually get worse during the night. Regardless of how comfortable your best mattress is, your bedroom could be the reason you’re experiencing itchiness, streaming eyes, headaches and uncontrollable sneezing.

To stop your bedroom harbouring pollen and dust mites, and making your allergies worse, I spoke to Martin Seeley, sleep expert and CEO at MattressNextDay who gave his five tips for allergy-proofing your bedroom.

1. Don’t make your bed straight away

I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I do in the morning is make my bed. It makes my room look tidier, and honestly, it means I’m less likely to crawl back in. But during allergy season, making your bed straight away is a big no-no. As Seeley explains, “an unmade bed is less susceptible to trapping pollen and dust mites… Many studies show that unventilated bedding, caused by making your bed immediately, can create an environment that leads to higher concentrations of dust mites and their allergic proteins.”

So, instead of making your bed, letting your sheets and mattress air for a few minutes can make a huge difference with your allergies. It also means your bed can be exposed to natural sunlight which has disinfectant properties and can help kill bacteria and mites.

2. Avoid drying bedding outside

Alongside having fun in the sun, the warmer weather means you don’t have to use the best tumble dryer as much, which can hike up your energy prices and monthly bills. But while drying your clothes and bedding outside can save you time and money, it “also brings outdoor pollen into the home”, Seeley explains. “Pollen can burrow itself or stick to fibres of your bedding and mattress, further irritating allergies when putting your duvet and pillow cases back on.” To avoid this, use your dryer sparingly or air your bedding on a clotheshorse.

How often you should change your bed sheets
How often you should change your bed sheets

3. Vacuum your mattress

When you change your best sheets – which you should be doing once a week, if not more if you’re suffering from allergies – you should also take the time to vacuum your mattress. “Vacuuming your mattress regularly is an easy way to clear it of any debris and keep it clean. Not only does it take away any manner of dust and debris - it helps to remove any pollen that may not be noticeable to the naked eye,” says Seely. Most vacuum cleaners come with attachments that are designed to clean mattresses, or you can convert yours into a handheld device to make things easier.

4. Open your bedroom windows for 30 minutes before bed

You might be thinking, “if I’m trying to keep pollen out of my bedroom, why would I open my windows?!” It might sound counterproductive, but it’s actually all to do with air circulation. “Air circulation helps with shifting pollen particles from your sleep environment,” explains Seeley, although he goes on to say that “opening windows for too long can expose the indoors to more tree pollen so it’s important to close windows after approximately 30 minutes.”

5. Cover your bed with spare linen during the day

If you want to keep your windows open all day, the best way to avoid excess pollen in your bedroom is to cover it with spare linen. Seeley states that “by throwing a spare sheet over your duvet during the day, this can help protect your bed from circulating pollen.”

For more information, here’s 6 expert-approved tips for dealing with hay fever at night.