14.04.2024

Expert reveals 9 ways to sleep well during hay fever season

Many will have heard the uptake in sneezes and sniffles around the office these past few weeks. Millions in the UK suffer with hay fever — and the season for it is now well and truly upon us.

What’s more — according to AllergyUK — the stifling symptoms, such as a runny nose, coughing or itchy eyes, can even disturb some sufferers from getting a good night’s snooze.

Here, Sammy Margo — a sleep expert at Dreams — shared her top tips for hitting the hay — without the fever.

These include simpler solution like taking a hot shower before bed — to more bizarre hacks, like sleeping with a sock filled with rice to relieve sinus pressure.

‘It’s no secret that hay fever is synonymous with sleep disturbance, which leads to daytime fatigue, irritability, and decreased productivity,’ Sammy explained.

‘So, it’s important for hay fever sufferers to take steps to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of sleep.’

Sammy says that sinus pressure is a common symptom of hay fever - and, odd as it sounds - filling a sock with rice is one way to tackle it. Stock image used

Sammy says that sinus pressure is a common symptom of hay fever — and, odd as it sounds — filling a sock with rice is one way to tackle it. Stock image used

TAKE A HOT SHOWER BEFORE BED 

‘Hay fever can cause nasal congestion and inflammation, which can lead to difficulty breathing and sleeping,’ Sammy said.

‘The steam from a hot shower may help to alleviate nasal congestion by loosening mucus and easing inflammation in the nasal passages.’

The sleep expert also explains that a nice relaxing shower can help keep you calmer as you head to bed, and aid in managing your body’s temperature as it preps for sleep.

SLEEP WITH A SOCK FILLED WITH RICE 

Sammy says that sinus pressure is a common symptom of hay fever — and, odd as it sounds — filling a sock with rice is one way to tackle it.

‘Fill a clean sock with uncooked rice and microwave it for 30 seconds and place it on your forehead or over your eyes,’ she instructs.

‘Making sure that it is not too hot, sleeping with a sock filled with rice is a simple and effective method which may help to soothe sinus pressure caused by hay fever.’

The expert says that warmth of the sock will help alleviate sinus discomfort and promote relaxation.

‘Additionally, the weight of the sock can provide a gentle pressure that may help to ease headaches and other forms of discomfort caused by hay fever,’ she added.

USE ANTI-ALLERGY BEDDING 

The sleep expert praises anti-allergy bedding as a 'great investment' for those who suffer with hay fever. Stock image used

The sleep expert praises anti-allergy bedding as a ‘great investment’ for those who suffer with hay fever. Stock image used

Sammy praises anti-allergy bedding as a ‘great investment’ for those who suffer with hay fever — as it’s ‘designed to keep allergens such as pollen and dust mites at bay’.

»These pillows, duvets, and mattress protectors from Dreams are made with special materials that prevent the build-up of allergens,’ she added.

‘Which can help reduce symptoms of hay fever and improve sleep quality.’

SLEEP IN A RECLINED POSITION

This may be an all-too-familiar tip for anyone who has struggled to sleep with a runny nose.

‘Hay fever can cause nasal congestion and post-nasal drip,’ Sammy says. ‘Which can make it challenging to breathe and sleep comfortably.

‘Sleeping in a reclined position may help to alleviate congestion and reduce post-nasal drip.

‘This is because the reclined position can help to drain mucus away from the nasal passages, allowing air to flow more freely through the airways.’

She says a specially designed wedge pillow or adjusted bed-head may be ways to aid that.

USE A NETI POT 

Sammy explains that another helpful tool could be a neti pot — often used to aid congestion.

‘Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution using a neti pot may help to remove pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages,’ she said.

‘This can reduce inflammation and congestion, making it easier to breathe and sleep more comfortably.’

Saline solution, the expert adds, is a ‘natural and gentle way to cleanse the nasal passages’ — and can help alleviate symptoms without causing any side effects.

DRINK HERBAL TEA 

Drinking herbal tea can help promote a restful night’s sleep by both promoting relaxation and helping tackle hay fever symptoms.

Some herbs — like nettle leaf — have natural antihistamine properties, which can help to relieve hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and itching.

‘Chamomile, peppermint, and lavender tea are known for their calming and sleep-inducing properties,’ she also says.

‘And can help to reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a restful night’s sleep.’

AVOID DAIRY PRODUCTS 

A protein found in dairy - called casein - has been shown to increase mucus production in some people. Stock image used

A protein found in dairy — called casein — has been shown to increase mucus production in some people. Stock image used

Thanks to a protein called casein, milkshakes and cheese platters may be your worst enemy — no matter how tempting they are in the sunny weather.

This is because it has been shown to increase mucus production in some people.

‘For this reason, it is recommended that people with hay fever or allergies avoid consuming dairy products in the evening,’ Sammy advised.

‘As they can worsen congestion and other symptoms.

‘By doing so, people with hay fever and allergies may experience a reduction in mucus production and congestion, leading to improved breathing and a more restful night’s sleep.’

WEAR AN EYE MASK  

‘An eye mask can help block out light and create a darker sleep environment, which can help alleviate hay fever symptoms and promote better sleep,’ Sammy says.

First of all, having a covering can help ‘prevent rubbing and itching of the eyes’ — which is a common symptom.

Moreover, by reducing exposure to light — ‘the body is better able to produce melatonin, which can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and promote more restful sleep’.

TRY ACUPRESSURE 

Acupressure may help with some hay fever symptoms, Sammy revealed.

‘Sinus pressure and congestion caused by hay fever can make it difficult to breathe through the nose and can lead to snoring, which can disturb sleep quality,’ she explained.

‘Acupressure may help relieve sinus pressure and promote relaxation.

‘By applying pressure to specific points on the body, such as the bridge of the nose or the base of the skull, you can stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and release tension.’

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