It’s estimated that 25% of the UK population suffer from hayfever. When you’re all bunged up and your eyes are itchy, it’s hard to get the sleep you need. It can even increase your chance of snoring! We’ve gathered 5 top tips for making sure you or your partner don’t lose sleep over hayfever this year.
What is hayfever?
Hayfever is an allergic reaction to pollen. When pollen enters your system, sometimes instead of ignoring it, your body may see it as an invader so builds up a reaction to attack it. During this process, a chemical called histamine is released. This makes blood vessels wider and triggers allergy symptoms like a blocked nose or itchy eyes.
Symptoms of hayfever
The most common symptoms include:
- sneezing and coughing
- a runny or blocked nose
- itchy, red or watery eyes
- itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- loss of smell
- pain around your temples and forehead
- feeling tired
When is hayfever season?
Different types of pollen peak at various times throughout the year.
Late March to mid May – tree pollen affects around 25% of people.
Mid May to July – grass pollen season begins. Most people are allergic to grass pollen.
End of June to September – weed pollen can be released at any time, however it’s typically released during this period.
Depending on where you live in the UK, hayfever season starts at different times. In the north of the UK, there’s less pollen, resulting in a later start and shorter season. The countryside has higher counts than urban areas, and places inland have higher counts than around the coast.
Is hayfever worse at night?
A common misconception is that hayfever symptoms will always calm down at nighttime. Many people however actually experience worse symptoms when they’re trying to sleep. So why could this be the case?
Pollen can get trapped indoors
If your hayfever symptoms are worst in the morning, this could be the reason why. It’s easy for pollen to get stuck on your clothing, hair and skin when you go outside. Then when you come back inside and get changed in your bedroom, it can transfer onto the surroundings in which you sleep.
Your sleeping position
If nasal congestion is a common occurrence when you’re suffering with hayfever, your sleeping position could be making it worse. When you lie down at night, your nose cannot drain which makes it harder to breathe through your nose.
Pollen levels can still be high in the evening
Just because the sun has gone down, it doesn’t mean we’re free from pollen! Pollen levels often peak at night. It rises with the warm air during the day, and sinks back down to ground level as the air begins to cool at night. Some plants even release their pollen in the evening.
Can hayfever make you snore?
The symptoms of hayfever such as congestion can increase your chances of snoring. For example, if you have a blocked nose, you may have to switch to mouth breathing. When you breathe in this way, studies have shown that your airway is narrower, making vibrations more likely which we hear as snoring.
Top tips for beating hayfever
- Lather, rinse, repeat
Pollen is sticky and can stay in your hair until washed out properly. The last thing you want is to get pollen on your pillow and end up having an allergy attack in the middle of the night. Pollen can also stay on your clothes for hours after you have been outside. Shower before bed to remove any pollen from your skin, and get dressed in the bathroom so that pollen from your clothes doesn’t contaminate your bedroom.
- Get your feather duster out
Vacuum to remove any pollen that has settled on the floor or in your carpet. Using a damp cloth when you dust will also help to make sure that dust and pollen cling to the cloth, rather than just being spread around. It’s tempting to leave your bedroom windows open during the summer, but try to leave them closed during the day when the pollen count is highest.
- Don’t hang your sheets out to dry
The summer months are great for being able to get your laundry washed and dried quickly. But hanging your bedding out when the pollen count is high could prove to be a silly mistake. Try drying your bedding on a clothes horse indoors. It takes a little longer, but it should reduce the amount of pollen on the sheets and put an end to your night-time sneezing fits.
- Put a spoonful of honey in your bedtime drink
Many people believe that eating locally-produced honey can help to reduce hayfever symptoms. The theory is that the pollen contained in the honey will help to build up your immunity to the allergens around you. And let’s face it, even if this method hasn’t been fully backed by clinical trials just yet, it’s a solution that’s tasty to try.
- Decongest your nasal passages
Recent studies show links between certain hayfever medications and conditions such as Alzheimers. This has prompted people to turn to more natural remedies as a solution for their runny, blocked noses. Pollen allergies can cause your nasal passages to become inflamed and swollen, making it hard for you to breathe through your nose. As well as making it hard for you to fall asleep, this congestion limits airflow, increasing air turbulence and making you more likely to snore.
Try covering your face with a warm, slightly damp towel to help clear your nasal passages. Some people find that inhaling steam can also help to thin the mucus. Hold your head over a steaming bowl of water (be careful not to burn yourself) and breathe in. Or have a hot steamy shower which should have the same effect. As well as trying these remedies, a snoring relief product may also work wonders in helping you breathe freely.
How to reduce snoring with congestion
As well as trying out the tips above, using snoring relief could help alleviate your symptoms. Start off by downloading our free app SoundSleep, which tracks your snoring and breathing disruptions throughout the night. This way you’ll be able to track if hayfever is making you snore, and even see how well the products below reduce your snoring.
First we have the Snoreeze Nasal Spray – this will decongest your nasal passages so you can breathe easily again. It’s natural ingredients mean it’s safe to use every night! Or you could try Snoreeze Nasal Strips to gently open your airways, improving airflow. The Snoreeze Nasal Dilator is also another great option to help you breathe freely again. Its fully adjustable design removes the need for different size trial packs.
Snoring can be a complex issue, but getting to the root cause is important to help you and your partner sleep better. If you want to talk to fellow snorers or get some advice, our SoundSleep Facebook group is the place to go to.
Work your way through our top tips to breathe easier, and don’t let hayfever get you down.