Why is hay fever worse at night time? 5 ways to sleep better with allergies

This Morning: Liz Earle gives hay fever remedy recommendations

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Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, causes cold-like signs and symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and pressure on the sinuses. But unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a common virus. It’s brought on by an allergic response to outdoor or indoor allergens, such as pollen, dust mites or tiny flecks of skin and saliva shed by cats, dogs and other animals with fur or feathers. Aside from making you generally miserable, hay fever can impact your ability to perform at work or school and generally interfere with your life.

Why is hay fever worse at night?

Logic would suggest that hay fever is worse during the day as your exposure to pollen would be greatly increased.

However, this isn’t always the case and many people seem to find their symptoms are heightened at night time.

This could be down to pollen showers, which rise with the hot air when the sun’s out and consequently are carried away.

But when the air cools down at night, the pollen falls back down to the earth, and this is the process that’s most likely giving you hay fever at night.

One thing worth considering is the time at which your symptoms kick in, as there could be an explanation for that as well.

In rural areas where there’s plenty of grass and greenery, the process will most likely happen before midnight.

In city centres or congested areas with lots of concrete, the area stays hotter for longer and delays the process by a couple of hours until after midnight.

However, if you find your symptoms flaring up when the colder months settle in, it’s probably not hay fever at all and chances are you’re allergic to something that’s bringing on rhinitis. You can find out more about allergic rhinitis on the NHS. Allergic rhinitis

Five ways to sleep better with allergies

Switch up your shower routine

As you live your life and go about your day, you’re slowly picking up dust and pollen in your hair, clothes and on your skin, which can get in your eyes and nose when you get home and in bed.

Cleanse yourself of these allergens by showering at night instead of the morning, as this will wash all the dust from your skin, plus any hot steam can help with your blocked nose symptoms.

Keep pillows and sheets clean

As you go in and out of your room, opening doors and windows along the way, you’re inviting allergens into your room and onto the bedding.

Minimise the impact of this with regular washing and changing of bed sheets.

You should steer clear of materials like wool or feathers as they can’t be washed regularly, as a result, gathering more dust and mites than synthetic fabrics.

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Consider hypoallergenic bedding

One point of consideration could be to invest in bedding specifically developed to protect against allergies.

Hypoallergenic bedding is made from material resistant to allergens, with memory foam and cotton being two examples of the stuff.

Keep your air clean

The warm and humid summer air is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, dust mites and mould – all of which are allergens that could keep you up at night.

Try investing in a humidifier or air purifier to keep your humidity levels down on sweaty days, by sucking moisture out of the air.

Alternatively, try keeping a few air-purifying plants like peace lilies or rubber plants.

On top of this, make regular checks on your windows for cracks in the sealant which could enable the pollen to creep inside your home.

Keep pets away from the bedroom

While not all dogs are allergenic, most of them are, and cat hair can also bring on nasty allergic reactions too.

Their hair can not only cause itching and irritation to your skin and face, but it also carries lots of the allergens that can be transferred into the home.

As tempting as it is to let pets in the bed for a nighttime snuggle, it’s not a recommended move if you suffer from hay fever or allergens.

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