There sure are a lot of things that can disturb your sleep: The distant howling of a fire engine, a nearby snore, or perhaps an unearthly scratching on the window. One of the most common causes of a poor night’s sleep is allergies. Pesky allergens love to lurk throughout your home — in the carpet, in your bedroom, and in your mattress.
While many sleep interruptions are beyond your control, you can fight back against your mattress allergies by following these helpful tips.
7 Tips for Controlling Allergies When It Comes to Your Mattress
- Invest in a Hypoallergenic Mattress
- Consider What Type of Sheets You Buy
- Use a Mattress Cover
- Wash Bedding Regularly
- Vacuum and Clean Your Room
- Clear the Air
- Keep Pets Out!
If your mattress is causing itchy skin and relentless sneezing, it’s time to explore some options. It may be time to shop for a new mattress. While you’re at it, there are a few other things you can do to control the environment of your bedroom and make it as allergen-free as possible.
Allergens do not just affect those who have allergies and asthma. Even those who do not regularly exhibit allergy symptoms and/or asthma symptoms can find a severe lack of comfort in their sleeping arrangements. You could try a different sleeping position or take medication for allergies and asthma — but your best bet and long-term solution is to minimize the presence of allergens.
1. Invest in a Hypoallergenic Mattress
While there are many different mattress types, people with allergies will want to get one that is hypoallergenic. This six-syllable word indicates that a mattress is safe for people with allergies. Pollen, dust, bed bugs, and those microscopic, crab-like creatures called dust mites are mostly prevented from entering the mattress because of its material — whether it’s synthetic memory foam, latex foam, or even a coil mattress encased in a naturally allergen-resistant material like cotton.
Additionally, a hypoallergenic mattress — like the Purple® Mattress — might have a specific foam structure that facilitates airflow, keeping the interior of the mattress nice and dry, which in turn prevents mold, fungi, and bacteria from taking root and colonizing the space under which you sleep. It’s important to keep in mind that some other companies will tout their mattresses as hypoallergenic — yet their allergy-resistant nature comes from a dangerous makeup of America’s most wanted chemicals. Over time, those compounds (like chemical fire retardants) can cause rashes, sore throats, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing … the very things you were hoping to avoid. To that end, you’ll want to make sure your hypoallergenic mattress is made from safe materials. For example, the Purple® Mattress is made with recyclable, food-grade, and-food-contact grade material.
2. Consider What Type of Sheets You Buy
There are some freaky things trying to get in-between the sheets with you. Actually, they’re trying to get on your sheets or inside your foam mattress. Those culprits — pollen, dust, and dust mites — can also become embedded in the fabric of your sheets. Sheets with a higher thread count leave fewer microscopic spaces in which these unwanted guests like mites can land, but the lack of airflow in an overly-tight weave increases heat and overall discomfort.
Cotton, bamboo, and Tencel fabric (made from tree pulp) are all excellent options, as is silk — though that particular sleeping surface comes with a hefty price tag and requires dry-cleaning (not the best for those with allergic sensitivities to chemicals in cleaning agents). Bamboo sheets are a great option as they have a natural feel and are an inherently more repellent material — good for resisting mites and pollen alike.
3. Use a Mattress Cover
Are your grandparents those types that cover all the furniture in plastic covers? You may find it a little bit stuffy or laughable to walk into a living room that looked like it was shrink-wrapped, but they’ll have the last laugh when you realize it’s kept the furniture clean and pristine (even if its decades old). Similarly, anyone with allergies should not be shy about covering their pillows and mattress with a hypoallergenic cover, such as the Purple™ Mattress Protector. While hypoallergenic mattresses and pillows keep the majority of culprits out, some will still get in. As you toss and turn in bed, you’ll jostle the big happy dust family around, which can trigger all the allergic reactions you want to avoid.
If you’re allergic to latex, make sure your mattress cover is not made from it, otherwise, it won’t be very good at helping you avoid allergic reactions. People who are extremely sensitive to memory foam and latex mattresses can look for a mattress protector with a pore size of 1 micron. It’s effective at blocking allergens but be aware that the lack of airflow will likely create extra heat and diminish the comfort of your mattress.
A mattress cover — like the Purple™ Mattress Protector — can help prevent you from breathing in dust, spores, or other unwanted materials. A mattress cover will further help prevent these allergens from getting into the mattress in the first place. Also, your mattress and pillows become a gravity-aided sponge of body oils and strange fluids (we won’t get into details). Having your mattress wrapped in a solid cover will prevent moisture from getting into the mattress, which in turn prevents allergy-inducing molds, fungi, and bacteria from brewing. Even better, mattress protectors will prolong the life of your bedding by keeping your mattress clean, as these fluids can wear down its effectiveness over time.
4. Wash Bedding Regularly
This one might seem obvious, but washing your bedding goes a long way towards eliminating allergies. It certainly requires some effort to frequently strip the bed, wash the sheets, and then put them back on again. Of course, if you sleep with a comforter, you’ll also want to wash that as well. Since many comforters don’t fit into your typical washing machine, you may have to bring it to a laundromat, which is an extra hassle. But all this hard work is worth it if you have allergies! Washing your sheets, pillowcases, and comforter in water and detergent is a good way to get rid of dirt, pollen, and microscopic organisms that have taken up residence in your bed.
Just make sure to use a hypoallergenic detergent, especially if you’re sensitive to chemicals. Otherwise, washing your sheets will just be bumping off one foe to be replaced by a different mortal nemesis: chemical allergens. At the very least, if you can’t wash your comforter more than once a month, wash your sheets every week. If you have a mattress pad, don’t forget to wash that frequently as well. Though it’s underneath your sheets, it can still become a congested piece of bedding that needs a weekly clean. Be sure to check the label — if the mattress pad is made from something like natural latex, it may come with special washing instructions.
5. Vacuum and Clean Your Room
You can turn your mattress into a fortress of cleanliness and comfort, but if the rest of the kingdom is a pigsty, then it will constantly be under siege from the forces of darkness (aka mites and potentially the infamous bed bugs). Don’t let the money you spent on hypoallergenic products, and the care you put into washing your sheets every week, go to waste. Clean your room! Make sure there is no food around to attract bugs. Vacuum the carpet or sweep the floor. Wipe down the surfaces. Minimize the amount of random clutter you have lying around (hint: if it’s truly special, keep it … if it’s taking up space, find a new space for it). Dust the blinds, wash the drapes, and do whatever you can do to minimize the amount of dirt and dust in your room.
However, even if you live like a monk, dust will still come into your room. Most dust is actually formed by decomposing biological matter that came off of your body … sorry to be gross. So, you will still need to clean and dust and vacuum your room periodically — preferably once a week, but at least monthly — if you want to minimize allergens in the area.
6. Clear the Air
Place a dehumidifier or air purifier in your room to help eliminate allergens from your sanctuary of sleep. This is especially effective if you live in an older home or apartment complex. Over time, the ventilation system is bound to be impacted by the presence of dust, and during certain seasons, pollen or mold spores could also be in the air. You’ll be amazed (perhaps dismayed) by how filthy the filter or water tank becomes after just a day. Even if the ventilation system is clean, excessive moisture in the air can facilitate the growth of allergens like mold.
7. Keep Pets Out!
This is a hard one for those who love their furry friends, but it’s absolutely vital if you are sensitive to allergies. Tell Sparky that you’re sorry — but a plush pet bed is calling him, and he can’t sleep in your bed. If you don’t have the heart to kick him off, that’s fine; just know that in addition to the natural allergen that is part and parcel of his fur, your pet can also track dust, dust mites, and pollen into your bed. Even if your mattress is a pure block of synthetic foam or latex, allergens can be left behind all over your sheets and pillows.
Common Allergens in the Bedroom
Dust is perhaps the most common allergen. It can come from an open window or from dirt that’s been tracked in from dirty clothing. The most common source of dust is dead human skin cells, which is just inevitable (you are constantly shedding it on a microscopic level).
Unfortunately, your lovable, furry friend can be a common source of allergens. Pet dander comes from proteins all over your pet’s body — saliva, fur, and urine — and is very allergenic for many people. Pet dander has an incredible ability to stay airborne for hours, working its way through the nooks and crannies of your home and touching down where it’s least desired.
Don’t you just love pollen season? This allergen loves to appear in the spring and fall. Pollen is comprised of plant matter spores that are reproductive in nature. While pollen can be tracked in with shoes and clothes, it can also infiltrate easily through vents, windows, and doors.
These little critters are invisible to the naked eye, but they’re there — and they love to burrow in dusty places. Dust mites can be an allergy irritant, and so is their microscopic poop. Even without the itching and sneezing, it can be hard to relax and fall asleep when you realize you’re surrounded by dust mite feces.
Mold and Mildew
Fungi like mold and mildew take root in damp conditions and quickly spread. The spores they release in their attempt to take over planet earth may not get very far, but they get far enough to seriously irritate people with allergies. Bacteria can also grow in damp conditions and irritate those with allergies. While you may not feel that your bedroom is damp, with all the fluids and oils that soak into the dark space of your mattress, there’s a chance that something funky could be growing there.
Sometimes your mattress itself can induce allergic reactions, especially if its foam doused in chemicals like perfumes and flame retardants. Many people experience an allergic reaction from memory foam, and even natural latex can be allergy-inducing. After all, natural latex is an organically derived compound, and most allergens originate in nature. Don’t assume that a memory foam mattress is inherently allergy-repellent. Look for a mattress that is specifically touted as hypoallergenic — and of course, you’ll want to avoid memory foam entirely if you’re allergic.
What’s the Best Mattress for Allergies?
With so many diverse allergy-inducing forces trying to invade your mattress, you might feel like those shirtless Greek dudes in the movie 300, trying to hold back a massive army culled from the four corners of the Earth: mites, pollen, dander, and dust — the sworn enemies of those who sleep. The good news is you don’t have to suffer from sneezing, coughing, itching, and watery eyes. By keeping your room clean, regularly washing your bedding, and purifying the air, you can eliminate many allergens.
If any allergens do make their way to their bed, they’ll be stopped cold in their tracks by a hypoallergenic mattress cover. Bamboo bed sheets will prevent them from taking hold where you sleep.
A hypoallergenic mattress like the Purple® Mattress will keep allergens out, and its patented Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ foam grid will keep air circulating, further preventing allergens from lingering if they do get past the Great Wall of Purple. It’s important to consider your options among the types of mattresses that are hypoallergenic and pick one that also offers sleepers a restful night of sweet dreams.
If you don’t believe how amazingly effective these mattresses are for battling allergens, read some mattress reviews from customers who are breathing easy at night. Allergy sufferers will suffer no more, and you can finally get a good night’s sleep.