If you’re suffering from frequent, unexplainable allergy symptoms that seem to be worse at nighttime, a tiny household pest may be to blame: the dust mite.
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that inhabit mattresses, pillows and bedroom linen. Dust mites are simply a fact of life, snacking on dead human skin cells while you sleep. Anywhere between a few hundred thousand to tens of millions of dust mites may be living in your bedroom, and they can aggravate allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues.
Frequent washing of your bedroom linens is not always enough, because dust mites can inhabit non-washable materials such as your pillows and mattress. One solution to this problem is to create a hypoallergenic bedroom:
- Special dust mite-proof coverings are available for all of the components of your bed, including the mattress and pillows. These coverings are typically sold as hypoallergenic bedroom coverings, and go beneath the pillowcase or blankets but fully encapsulate the mattress and pillow. Dust mites cannot penetrate these coverings.
- Pillowcases and blankets should be washed at least once per week, using the hottest temperature available on your washing machine to kill dust mites.
- Never use a second-hand mattress, because they can be a haven for dust mites or worse, bed bugs. Only buy brand-new hypoallergenic bedroom linens and mattresses or pillows made from natural hypoallergenic materials.
Dust mites are not the only source of bedroom allergies, and here are some other steps you can take to help make your nights much more comfortable:
- Don’t allow pets to share the bed with you. As comforting as snuggling your cat at night can be, pet dander and hair are a major source of allergens.
- Use natural hypoallergenic material in your bed, such as cotton or natural fiber such as bamboo. These are often chemical-free and can help reduce allergy symptoms. In addition, bamboo fiber has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Add some greenery to your bedroom with houseplants such as spider plants or ivy. These plants help purify the air naturally without emitting harmful ozone like an electronic air purifier does, and their fast metabolisms mean that they are more efficient air purifiers than other plants.
Avoid VOCs - volatile organic compounds. These compounds are found in a number of household products, from air fresheners to paints. Use a low-VOC paint in your bedroom and avoid air fresheners that use aerosols because these air fresheners only cover the inside of your nose and don’t actually remove odours. Essential oils do a much better job of creating a great-smelling space and won’t aggravate respiratory issues or allergies.