If you’re a new mom, mornings are tough enough without the restless nights and fogginess that can come with allergy season. Sure, there are plenty of over-the-counter allergy medications. However, if you’re like me and any cold or allergy medicine knocks you for a loop, you may want to avoid them while you’ve got a baby on your hands. If you’re not prone to grogginess, this article from Parents has some good advice for dealing with allergies while you’re breastfeeding, including what medicines are safe. Always check with your doctor before starting any medication.
Since interrupting sleep is part of the deal with a baby, being able to maximize the few hours you do get is critical for your health and wellbeing. So, what can you do to avoid tossing and turning because of allergy symptoms? Minimize the triggers. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the four biggest allergens that cause poor sleep are dust mites, mould, pet dander and pollen. Reducing these triggers and improving the quality of your home’s air can have a big impact on your breathing comfort, especially when your windows are closed and the A/C is running non-stop. And that can help you—and your entire family—get a good night’s sleep all summer long.
While even the cleanest home will always have some allergens, you can help reduce their numbers by taking a few steps:
- Use allergen-reducing bedding and mattress covers.
- Wash your bedding once a week in hot water (at least 54° Celsius).
- Keep your home’s humidity level between 35% and 50%.
- Use an air purifier.
- Use a vacuum with a double-layered microfilter bag or HEPA filter.
- Dust with a damp cloth.
For more detailed advice, check out Asthma Canada’s Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home.
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live in carpets, bedding, mattresses, soft furniture and carpets—and they can wreak havoc on your sleep. This mattress protector from AllerEase helps provide protection from dust mites, pollen, bed bugs, pet dander and other household allergens that can trigger allergies.
Maintaining the right humidity in your home can go a long way toward helping to protect your family’s health, comfort and—you guessed it—sleep. If there is too much moisture, your home can become a breeding ground for mould (another allergen!). Too little, and you can suffer from dry air and all of its sleep-robbing symptoms: nose bleeds, dry throat and more. Bottom line: the right humidity level is good for your health and your sleep.
Humidifiers are a common solution for maintaining your home’s moisture levels in the winter when air is naturally much drier. But humidifiers can also be good for summer when air conditioning can lower the moisture levels in your home. Just be sure to keep your humidifier clean and monitor the moisture level in your home to ensure that it’s less than 50%.
Don’t let this humidifier’s price tag give you pause. However, you may feel it’s worth the investment when you consider Dyson quality. This model has the Asthma & Allergy Friendly certification and a pledge to kill 99.9% of bacteria in the water with Ultraviolet Cleanse technology (when used correctly). It is designed to help project clean, hydrated air around the room evenly and quietly.
In “5 Bedroom Accessories that Improve Sleep,” the experts at the National Sleep Foundation suggest that adding an air purifier to your bedroom can help boost your sleep quality by removing many of the allergens that cause nighttime congestion. When you breathe better, it’s easier to wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
An air purification system, like this one from GermGuardian, has multiple levels of cleaning, including HEPA, UV-C and charcoal, to help improve indoor air quality. A HEPA filtration system can help reduce the airborne allergens in your home, while UV-C and charcoal help kill germs and reduce odours.
As much as I hate vacuuming, a good vacuum can be your best friend when you’ve got allergies (and pets and kids …). Vacuuming frequently can help reduce dust mites, pollen, pet dander and other allergens. The best vacuums for allergy sufferers are those with sealed or HEPA filtration systems to help keep those nasty little particles where they belong—away from sensitive noses.
This vacuum from Hoover features a reusable rinse filter and rubberized pet tools that help remove stubborn pet hair while getting into cracks and crevices. It is designed with a multi-floor brush roll on/off option that allows you to move from carpet to hard flooring. The filter is made with HEPA media and an odour-absorbing carbon layer. HEPA filters are designed to trap 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
Following these tips to reduce allergens in your home can help you maximize the few hours of sleep your baby lets you get. Your whole family will likely sleep better, too. After all, who doesn’t wake up more refreshed after sleeping on fresh sheets? (If you’re skeptical about how freshly-washed sheets can help you sleep better, check out this article in Good Housekeeping.) Doesn’t the thought of waking up bright-eyed to a sunny day make the thought of vacuuming regularly just a little easier to take? If you’ve followed these allergen-reducing tips and your child still has a difficult time falling or staying asleep, 5 minutes for mom has a couple of simple ideas that just might do the trick.