Nighttime allergies? It could be your comforter

If you often struggle to sleep because you find yourself unable to breathe properly as soon as you snuggle down, it could be that you’re suffering from nighttime allergies. Many people who experience allergies at night only, assume it’s normal - just something they need to put up with. And they often resort to using antihistamine or decongestants to improve their chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

Read on to find out why, if you’re struggling with allergies in the middle of the night, we think it could all be down to one simple thing – your comforter.

Are your allergies bad at night?

How did you sleep last night? Did you find yourself suffering with any of these symptoms?
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Itchy or runny eyes
  • Tight chest
  • Sore throat
  • Itchy skin
If so, it could be that you’re suffering an allergy flare up at night. This is more common than you might think, particularly among sufferers of asthma, eczema or allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose).

So rather than assuming your body is at fault, let’s look at why it could be your comforter that causes those nasty allergy symptoms at night.

How your comforter could be the cause of your nighttime allergies

Is your allergy flare up at night caused by feathers?

First, let’s consider what your comforter is made from. If it’s stuffed with goose feathers or down, it could simply be that your nighttime allergies symptoms are caused by a reaction to the feathers. While a genuine allergy to feathers is not common, it is possible and may be worth being tested.

Or could it be dust mites?

By far the most common answer for people who suffer allergies at night only, is that they’re suffering a reaction to dust mites, tiny creatures that can happily live within our bedding and soft furnishings. These tiny organisms can cause everything from itchy eyes to an allergic cough at night depending on how our body reacts to them. But the worst bit? The type of comforter you have can have a direct impact on the number of dust mites colonizing your bed.

Tests have shown that under controlled conditions synthetic comforters promote the reproduction of dust mites and the allergen associated with them.

Why does the type of comforter matter?

Experiments have shown that dust mites (and fungal spores which can be similarly problematic) thrive in warm, damp conditions. Unfortunately, this is just the kind of environment synthetic and down comforters create. As you sleep, your temperature rises a little and your body will perspire to cool itself down. This moisture is trapped by the comforter, providing the perfect humid conditions for dust mites to reproduce. Fast. And so, as you snuggle down into your bedcovers you’re placing your face, and more importantly your airways right next to those pesky dust mites. It’s no wonder then that this can make your allergies bad at night in particular.

The bad news is that even regular washing of your comforter can only cause temporary nighttime allergy relief. Tests have shown that after washing, feather, down or synthetic bedding will be completely recolonized within 6 weeks, making those allergies bad at night once more.

What helps allergies at night?

So it stands to reason, that if your comforter is likely to be the cause of your problems, when you’re looking for nighttime allergy relief, this is the place we should start.

There are plenty of anti-allergy comforters and pillows available – all of which should go some way to reducing your nighttime allergies, but it’s worth doing your research before making a choice. You will find that some materials resolve the issue much better than others.

Wool is particularly effective. This is because it is naturally hypoallergenic, meaning no chemicals are introduced. Wool works brilliantly to absorb moisture and therefore creates a dry environment that is inhospitable to dust mites, dust mite allergens and fungal spores.

If you’re looking to avoid those antihistamines and enjoy sneeze-free sleep, our advice is do your research about wool comforters to find out more about how they could provide welcome nighttime allergy relief.

If you are looking for more ideas about how to sleep better at night naturally, visit our Sleep Health & Advice hub.

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