Addressing Allergies to Stay Asleep and Sleep Deeply

By Dr. Dan Gartenberg

If you are stuffed up at night, struggle breathing, and cough or sneeze, a common issue is unaddressed allergies in the bedroom. Common causes include feathered pillows and unaddressed dust mites due to non-hypogenic bedding. 

Do you think you suffer from allergies at night and that it is impacting your sleep quality? The first step is to get a referral from your General Practitioner to go to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor in order to get evaluated for allergies. I did this recently and was surprised to find that I was highly allergic to dust mites. Dust mites are extremely common, especially in damp and cool climates like NYC (where I live). Roughly 4 out of 5 homes in the US have dust mites. 

Below are some steps that you can take in order to mitigate common allergies at night and the pervasive problem of dust mites.

1. Get hypoallergenic bedding

How to do it

Since you spend about 1/3 of your life touching your sheets, it makes sense to get the best ones possible. What makes sheets good are that they are made of hypoallergenic material made for sensitive skin and free of chemicals. Of all the sheets that I've tried and tested, I find that the ettitude Bamboo sheets are superior to the rest. In addition to being very stylish, they are hypoallergenic (unlike many cotton sheets). Since bamboo fabric is an organic material that limits bacterial growth, it is ideal for keeping a clean and healthy bedroom environment.


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Doctor recommending SleepSpace to their clients

2. Get tested for allergies like dust mites by a doctor

How to do it

Did you know that 5-30% of the population are allergic to dust mites? While you might not think that this is a serious allergy is, untreated allergies cause chronic inflammation. This is not healthy. If you snore or sneeze at night, this is one of the most common reasons. To be proactive about your health, it is best to get a referral by your general practitioner to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor (if you get a referral then your insurance is more likely to pay). An ENT doctor can rule out issues like dust mites and also test for other allergies, such as to pets or foods that may be causing sleep disruptions. 

3. Get casings for your pillows and bed to block dust mites

How to do it

If you discover that you are allergic to dust mites, you can take protecting your bed to the next level with casings that you can place around your pillows and mattress. 

Mattress and pillow casing is recommended in addition to hypoallergenic sheets. The New York Times and Wire Cutter recently conducted a review of the best casings.

By completely enclosing your bed and pillow with a special fabric, this prevents dust mites from being able to survive on your bedding.  Such casing, plus Ettitude sheets is the recommended solution for addressing allergies in your bedroom.

If you find that you frequently cough or have dry mouth at night, consider investing in a humidifier. 

A final hack: use hypoallergenic breathable PJs that can also block out dust mites and bacteria, such as Dagsmejan. You can get $15 off all Dagsmejan Sleepwear and learn how to get the most of it by downloading the Free SleepSpace app and unlocking the Dagsmejan Sleepwear program. 


4. Change your pillows every year

How to do it

The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends that you change your pillow every 2 years. Pillows accumulate a lot of dead skin, dust mites, and even mold. Pillows can also begin to lose their support structure in as little as 1-year. That's why we recommend to change them more frequently (at least once a year) if you use the same pillow on a regular basis. Also when replacing a pillow, factor in that high quality pillows, such as memory foam pillows like Termpur-petic have a longer lifespan. That's why I personally use a Tempurpetic pillow. While it costs more upfront, it lasts longer, making it more economical. 

Man keeping a clean bedroom in order to promote sleep hygiene

5. Sweep and mop your bedroom once a week

How to do it

A simple way to reduce allergies in your bedroom is to clean it on a regular basis. We usually do a deep clean of our bedroom at least every 2 weeks and will sweep and vacuum at least once a week. This helps keep your bedroom as a clean sleep sanctuary, which is what you ideally want for getting the most regenerative night of sleep possible.

Another hack to create the perfect sleep sanctuary is to make your bed every morning. This will give you the opportunity to have a ritual of getting into your bed every night. Having such rituals can help with stimulus control - promoting the ability to fall asleep faster. 

Man keeping a clean bedroom in order to promote sleep hygiene