Allergies? Maybe your Pillow is to Blame
If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Unfortunately for many, the answer to this children’s rhyme is no laughing matter: severe allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and almost 60% of individuals with nasal allergies reported difficulty sleeping due to their allergy symptoms. There are many common allergens that can lurk in hidden places — like your pillow.
You likely spend 6-8 hours a night sleeping, and while you may feel safe and sound in your room, your sleep environment can have a significant impact on your overall health, especially when it comes to allergies. Do you have symptoms of allergies that you think are caused by your pillows? You're not alone.
The easiest way to reduce exposure to dust mites is by washing your pillow. Dust mites accumulate in your pillow and exacerbate allergy symptoms. The best way to rid your bedroom of allergens is to wash your bedding often, and while many people do a good job of this when it comes to their sheets and pillow cases, pillows are often neglected. If you are one of these individuals, don’t feel bad, you’re not alone!
Can Allergies Make You Tired?
Along with normal allergy symptoms, allergies can often leave you feeling a little foggy during the day. According to Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert, Dr. Sujay Kansagra, allergies are caused by your immune system perceiving allergens as “harmful” and attacking them when they enter our bodies. The result of this immune response is inflammation and mucous production, which is your body’s way of protecting you against what it inaccurately perceives as harmful. The result of this “protection” is often allergy symptoms like nasal congestion, cough, and itchy eyes.
Not only can your allergies cause unpleasant symptoms during the day, it can also impact the quality of your sleep and make you more tired. A night of congestion, sneezing or coughing can easily disrupt an otherwise perfect night’s sleep, leading to grogginess and fatigue the next day.
Also be careful of some over-the-counter allergy medicines that may cause drowsiness — and the need for a midday nap.
Allergies and Your Pillow: Fast Facts
- 1 in 4 people know that pillows should be replaced every two years but wait longer to replace them.
- 1 in 5 people have never washed their pillow
- 70% of people are not comfortable showing their naked pillow to others
Mattress Firm conducted a survey in 2018 asking 1,000 people about their pillow habits and their allergy issues. The survey suggests that while almost 90% of people wash their sheets one to three times per month, 20% have never washed their pillows, and nearly 45% only wash their pillows once a year.
Furthermore, while nearly 70% of individuals surveyed said a comfortable pillow is important to getting a good night’s rest, many of them are keeping their pillows much longer than the recommended time limit. Most pillows should be replaced every 1-2 years, but allergy sufferers may want to replace their pillow every 6 months.
Unfortunately, this means that most of us are sleeping on pillows that are no longer fluffy, and are full of dust mites, sweat, dead skin and other allergens. If you are like 80% of respondents who indicated that they struggle with allergies, experts recommend that you purchase dust mite-proof sheets and allergen pillow covers, and make sure to wash your pillow every three to six months in hot water with liquid detergent.
Best Pillow for Allergies
The Purple Pillow features the Purple Smart Comfort Grid™ system to support your neck and head throughout the night. Firm around the edges and soft in the center, the Purple pillow ensures you won’t wake up with pain in your neck. This hypoallergenic pillow features a removable and washable cover and is great for allergy sufferers.
This dual-sided pillow features pocketed Identical Down alternative fill on one side, and pressure relieving cool gel memory foam on the other – giving you two pillow types in one. The pillow cover provides a physical barrier to resist dust mites, while antimicrobial silver and silver chloride inhibits bacteria, deterioration, stains and odors, protecting the hybrid of technical textiles and premium fills.
Available for side and stomach/back sleepers, the Sheex Breathe Max down alternative pillows are a great pillow for allergy sufferers. This hypoallergenic down alternative is great for anyone that loves the feel of a down pillow, minus the sniffles.
Allergen Pillow Covers
Another way to protect your pillow against allergens is to use a pillow cover. Pillow covers encase your pillow and add an additional layer of protection against allergens.
This hypoallergenic pillow cover protects your pillow from allergens, dust mites and bed bugs. This pillow protector features Tencil fabric that is breathable and wicks away moisture.
The PureCare FRiO pillow protector is treated with antimicrobial silver chloride that inhibits bacteria, mold and mildew that causes deterioration, stains and odors on this product, allowing you to create a cleaner sleep environment in every bedroom in your home.
Simple steps like regularly washing your bedding and pillows and investing in allergen pillow covers can help keep the allergens from invading your bedroom. By making this a healthy sleep habit, you will keep dust mites out of your pillow, and eliminate the allergens that cause you to wake up with nasal congestion and itchy eyes. This simple fix can greatly improve your sleep environment, help to improve your overall well-being, and allow you to more fully enjoy those essential eight hours of sleep.