If there's one room in our homes we view as a peaceful sanctuary, it's the bedroom. You want your bedroom to be a place where you can relax and get a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, many people can't rest easily because of allergies. Instead of getting recharged for the next day, they end up sneezing, with itchy eyes, and generally feeling terrible most of the night.
Take heart — there are many things you can do to help allergy-proof your bedroom and help promote a better night's sleep.
Improve Your Air Quality
One quick step to help eliminate many allergens from your bedroom is to purchase a portable air purifier. Which one should you buy? That depends on how large an area the purifier will service and what types of allergens you want it to eliminate (e.g., tobacco smoke, pet dander, dust mites, chemical odors from fabrics and carpeting, etc.).
Another simple and inexpensive approach to cleaning the air in your bedroom is to vacuum often. Be sure your vacuum is as clean as possible, and go outdoors to remove pet fur and dust buildup from the vacuum before you start cleaning your bedroom. Otherwise, the vacuum's exhaust might actually increase the number of allergens in the air.
Frequently Wash Bed Coverings
The Mother Nature Network offers some detailed advice for keeping your bedroom furniture allergen-free. Your bed coverings should be as lightweight as possible, and you should wash them regularly in water that's at least 130° Fahrenheit. This not only eliminates dust and mildew, but also cuts down on dust mites that can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
Even if you enjoy the smell and feel of sheets that have been dried outside in the sunshine, that's definitely a practice to avoid. Bedding dried in a dryer is much less likely to trigger allergies because it has no pollen or mold spores and the high heat kills many other contaminants.
Using allergy-free bedding, including sheets, comforters, pillowcases and pillows, is an investment that will pay off in more Zzzz's every night.
Choose Furnishings Wisely
If you have upholstered furniture in your bedroom (such as a comfortable reading chair), consider replacing it. For many people upholstery is an allergy attack waiting to happen.
The dyes used in these fabrics can set off allergic reactions, as can the fibers they are made from. In addition, upholstery captures dust (and therefore dust mites) … another infamous source of sniffles and sneezes.
Instead of upholstered chairs or lounges, opt for wood with washable cushions that you clean regularly.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic warn that items that don't get moved often (such as toys and books) are havens for dust mites and other accumulating allergens. Store the bowling trophies and stuffed animal collection in other rooms or covered in a sealed toy box or case. Keep surfaces in the bedroom as free from clutter as possible, and dust often.
Some of us enjoy having a stack of books on our bed stand: titles we plan to get around to reading one of these days. Books, and the dust and critters they may contain, can cause allergic reactions in some people. Limit the number of paper books you keep near the bed, or purchase an ebook reader.
It's not just what's beside your bed. It's also what's underneath it. Stored items collect dust, and sleeping directly above them for six or eight hours a night is not a good idea. Don't allow clutter to accumulate below you, and when you clean the room regularly, be sure to clean under the bed.
Fido And Fluffy Must Go
Animal lovers may cringe at the thought, but allowing your pets to sleep with you is just not a good idea if you are prone to allergies. Not only do cats and dogs produce dander, they also shed and carry dust mites and fleas. WebMD provides a detailed explanation of just why these factors trigger reactions in some people and not others. For many pet parents, making the bedroom off limits to Fido and Fluffy is a big sacrifice, but it's worth it if your health and wellbeing are at stake.
Here are a few other tips to consider when allergy proofing your bedroom.
- Avoid using horizontal window blinds — they're notorious dust-catchers.
- Keep windows closed and wash the windows and frames frequently to avoid dust and mold buildup.
- Do not use heavy draperies.
- When it comes to flooring, avoid carpeting if possible, including throw rugs.
- Remember that a cluttered, dusty closet can contribute to allergies as well.
- Dust mites do not thrive well when temperatures are kept cool and the air is dry.
- If you live in an area where roaches are prevalent, hire an exterminator to rid your home of them. They are another potential allergy trigger.
Of course, if allergies are affecting your life and making you miserable, you should consult a medical professional to see what your treatment options might be. But practicing the tips listed above is an important first step toward having an allergy-proof bedroom.