Sleeping with allergies
Published on January 15, 2019
Allergy-proof your sleep sanctuary for better rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
The bedroom. The room where we go to relax, rejuvenate, and rest. It’s also the place where you can get the biggest bang for your buck (and time) when trying to get rid of the morning sniffles or sneezes – simply because we spend about a third of our lives in it. Here’s how you can transform your child’s (and your own) bedroom into refuges from allergies.
1. Mite-proof your sleep zone.
It might make your skin crawl a little to think about, but you may not be the only one sleeping in your bed. Dust mites burrow deep into the fibres of mattresses and can severely worsen the symptoms caused by asthma and other allergies. In fact, studies have found antigen levels in Singapore homes as high as 50 μg/g – five times higher than the threshold likely to exacerbate allergic reactions. To evict these pesky parasites from your bedding:
Get mite-proof mattresses and bedding.
This includes pillow cases, comforters, duvet cover, sheets, and anything else that comes into contact with your bed area. To maximise concealment, purchase pillowcases that have zippers. Also, be mindful of your bedding material. Mites have a harder time living in some fabrics more than others, such as our signature bamboo covers and our premium latex mattresses, of course.
Make it hot.
Wash your bedding frequently, at least once a week, and do so in hot water. Dust mites can’t survive hot temperatures, set your washing machine to scorch them; you want it to run loads of your bedding at around 54.5 degrees Celsius (or even higher). If you have a dryer, set it at its hottest. Be sure to check the washing instructions first, to ensure your King doesn’t shrink into a Queen if it gets too hot.
2. Vacuum regularly.
As the biggest surface area in the room, the floor is a big catch-all for dust and other things that will have you sneezing up a storm. Get well-acquainted with your vacuum cleaner, especially if you’ve carpets or rugs in the house. The fine fibres found in carpet make excellent hiding spots for allergens and dust, and make it easy for them to nestle in deep and thwart your cleaning efforts. You may even want to consider removing the carpet and rugs from your bedroom, and replacing it with an option like hard wood or tile which is easier to clean. If you must keep your carpet, be sure to invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which will not only help clean the floor but also improve the air quality.
3. Cut the Trinkets.
To reduce the collection of dust all together, consider eliminating or minimising the amount of trinkets and decorations in your bedroom. More items mean more surface area, which means more potential for dust and allergen collection. Don’t worry, you don’t need to trash your photo frames or travel souvenirs… just rehome them in the living room instead.
4. Be careful whom you or your child sleep with.
Stuffed animals and other plush toys are magnets for allergens and other harmful bacteria. So even if your child protests having to part with his favourite teddy bear or doll, be sure to wash it frequently. Additionally, try to avoid having an excessive amount of stuffed animals in the room.
5. Ditch the blinds.
If you have slatted blinds on your windows, the chances are that they’re holding and hiding a ton of dust. Instead, opt for curtains. These will collect dust and can potentially harbour mites, but are an overall cleaner option. Remember though, curtains will need to be washed frequently as well, not just during the annual spring-cleaning.
6. Keep it clean.
Wipe down the tops of windows and furniture. Even if you can’t see dust and mildew collecting on the high ledges of your TV stand or on the back of your upper shelves, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there and won’t cause problems for you. In fact, it’s these higher, harder-to-reach areas that are the worst culprits and dust traps. So when you clean, go top to bottom, and focus on more than just what the eye can see.
7. Cool it.
Temperature is essential. Dust mites can’t breed below 25 degrees Celsius, so keeping your room cool will also help keep it clean. Additionally, be mindful of humidity. 30 to 50 percent is the target range to minimise the presence of allergens. If your room is too humid, you may want to get a dehumidifier. Too dry, a humidifier.
8. Shower before sleeping.
It makes sense: if you’re clean when you crawl in bed, your bedroom will stay clean longer. Having a good wash before bedtime doesn’t just mean removing pollen and other allergens from your own skin, it prevents your sheets and carpet from clinging to them to continue bothering you for nights to come. However, if you do decide to start showering directly before bed, take the time and care to dry your hair. Going to bed with wet hair can introduce mould and mildew to pillows that otherwise could not develop.
9. Clear the air.
If your aircon does not already have a HEPA filter (or it doesn’t seem that effective), you may want to invest in a standalone air purifier if you still get the sniffles.
Here’s to waking up happier and more relaxed, with no more nights interrupted by harsh sneezing or eye watering.