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Allergy-Proof Your Bedroom With These Tips and Tricks

Allergies have no place in your bedroom. Here's how to clear them out.

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Taylor Leamey Senior Writer
Taylor Leamey writes about all things wellness, specializing in mental health, sleep and nutrition coverage. She has invested hundreds of hours into studying and researching sleep and holds a Certified Sleep Science Coach certification from the Spencer Institute. Not to mention the years she spent studying mental health fundamentals while earning her bachelor's degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. She is also a Certified Stress Management Coach.
Expertise Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Sociology Credentials
  • Certified Sleep Science Coach, Certified Stress Management Coach
Taylor Leamey
3 min read
Young woman sitting in bed and blowing her nose.
Getty Images

Itchy eyes and runny nose? You're not alone. When allergies are at their peak, often it's easier to stay inside to avoid your triggers. But sometimes, allergens can lurk in your home, too -- specifically, your bedroom.

Most people don't expect their bedroom to be the source of their allergies, but it happens. Spoiler alert: More often than not, it isn't the feathers in your pillows that you're reacting to. Here's what to know about allergies in the bedroom and what to do about them.

For more on allergies, see the sneaky signs you may have seasonal allergies and how to manage them this spring

Can you be allergic to your bedding?

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There are several potential allergy reactions to the different types of bedding. Though generally, true reactions to what your pillows and blankets are made of are rare. Potential sources of allergens include feathers, synthetic materials, and dyes. These allergic reactions aren't common for the average person -- but they can happen. It happened to me. 

So, how do you distinguish between regular allergies and allergic reactions to bedding products? It can be difficult, but being mindful of when the symptoms begin can be a good place to start. If your allergies start to act up when you get in bed and lessen throughout the day, it may be your bedding -- or what's in it. 

Here's what I did to figure out what was causing my allergies:

  1. I took note of when my symptoms started. It wasn't hard to figure out when I stopped sleeping well; it coincided with the introduction of the new pillows.
  2. I ruled out other possibilities -- there was no new laundry detergent or perfumes. The only thing was the pillows and my inability to breathe.
  3. Then I tested the theory. I removed the pillows from my bedroom and slept a few nights without them. My symptoms immediately improved. 
  4. I got the pillows as far away from me as possible.

If you're experiencing allergy symptoms in your bedroom and haven't introduced any new bedding, you're more likely reacting to dust mites or pet dander, both of which could be in your mattress and pillows. 

Read more: Best Mattresses

Couple sitting in bed while woman blows her nose.
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Your mattress might be the source of your allergies

Mattresses collect everything from spills to skin cells to dust mites. If you aren't cleaning your mattress (don't worry, most people don't), your allergies may flare up in response to the buildup on your mattress. 

You can't see dust mites. They are microscopic bugs that aren't visible to the naked eye. It's a little gross to think about, but they eat the dead skin we shed onto our pillows, sheets and mattresses. They're really common; roughly four out of five American homes have detectable levels of dust mites. Pretty much everyone has them, don't worry. 

Dust mites can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms, including a runny or itchy nose, congestion, coughing, throat discomfort and trouble sleeping. 

Here's what can you do to get rid of dust mites:

  • Wash your bedding weekly. 
  • Vacuum regularly if you have carpet in your bedroom. 
  • Try dust-mite-proof covers on your mattress and pillows. 
  • Control the humidity in your bedroom. Not only will this help with dust mites that need humid air to thrive, but it'll also help with mold and mildew. 

Read more: Best Organic Mattresses

Too long; didn't read?

Suppose you're having allergy flare-ups when you're sleeping. In that case, you may be reacting to dust mites, pet dander, feather pillows or synthetic materials. Nighttime allergies can have a serious impact on your ability to sleep. In addition to taking allergy medications, take the time to allergy-proof your room. Invest in a dehumidifier or dust-mite-proof covers to help ease discomfort. 

If you aren't in the position to invest in any new tech or bedding like mattress toppers, just keep things clean. Wash your sheets regularly, and vacuum as often as you can.  

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.