When you’re trying to fall asleep, allergies can be a huge impediment to restful sleep. A runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing can all be signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, but the trick is to know the cause.
If you suffer from allergies, your pillow could be exacerbating the effects and duration. We often forget that the things we interact with on a daily basis can have an impact on our health — in this case, our pillows. As you sleep on your pillow every night, your pillow can collect dust, molds, dirt, oils, and dead skin cells. Those trace particles, when exposed to over long periods of time, may have an effect on your allergies, such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, or asthma attacks. However, there are methods to mitigate the potential byproducts of allergens in your pillows.
The Different Allergens In Your Pillow
Your pillows sit on your bed every single day and night — like most furniture, your pillow may collect dust over time. Inhalation of dust can cause scratchy throat, coughing, watering eyes, and sneezing. The level of dust on your pillow may be influenced by whether or not you have a fan that hangs above your bed or if you vacuum your bedroom often.
Pollen is a common allergic trigger for many people. When we go outside, our hair can collect pollen, which may then transfer to our pillows. The more you lay your head down at night and leave traces of pollen on your pillow, the more prone you are to feel the effects of pollen allergies.
Molds and Fungi
As you sleep on your pillow over time, moisture and oils collect within the fibers and filling of your pillow. Molds can produce millions of spores as they develop, and breathing in those spores may be an issue — especially for those already prone to mold allergies.
A common fungus that can thrive in the environment of a pillow is called Aspergillus fumigatus, which has been shown to cause respiratory issues. Synthetic pillows have been found to harbor more fungal species, increasing the chance of fungi affecting your sleep.
Dust mites are microscopic insects that may cause or prolong your allergy symptoms. These tiny bugs feed on skin cells that we shed from our body, which oftentimes collect in our sheets and pillowcases. As the dust mites feed, they produce waste which, if inhaled, may cause an itchy throat, watery eyes, coughing, or sneezing.
Mitigate the Allergens in Your Pillow
There are a number of ways to reduce, potentially, the number of allergens that are present in your pillow. As a general rule, you should wash or change out your pillowcases, sheets, and bedding using hot water at least once a week. As you wash and dry your bedding, dust mites, dirt, oil, fungi, and mold will be scrubbed away. It’s advised that you vacuum your at least once a week and clean your ceiling fan blades as to not further the amounts of dust present in your bedroom.
Additionally, hypoallergenic pillow covers could help deter allergy-inducing particles from infesting your pillow. Breathable, nylon covers may be effective at protecting your pillow from mold, fungi, dust, and dust mites from making a home in your pillow.
Dust mites require a little bit more maintenance to diminish their population in your bedding. Wooden or metal bed frames may prohibit dust mites from migrating from your carpeted floor to your bedding, which may result in a reduction of their numbers. Electric blankets reduce the humidity on bed surfaces, which may impede dust mites from colonizing on your bedding.
The Benefits of a New Pillow
Another method for lessening the number of allergens in your pillow is to shop for a hypoallergenic pillow. JUVEA™ pillows are vegan, natural, petroleum-free, and made with no harmful chemicals. The breathable, open-air structure promotes airflow, which can reduce the growth of molds and fungi. In combination with a weekly maintenance routine to lessen the presence of allergens, JUVEA™ pillows are a wonderful option for sleepers who experience allergy symptoms that may be caused by their current pillow.