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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Allergies in the Bedroom

Feb 28, 2017 10:50PM

by Rebekah Greer 


Everyone wants to wake up in the morning after a restful night of sleep, feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. Unfortunately, for allergy sufferers, this isn’t always the case. The most common triggers for asthma and other bedroom allergies are dust and mites. WebMD estimates that over 20 million Americans are sensitive to these allergens. The dust mites themselves aren’t necessarily the problem, but a protein found in their droppings can cause humans to produce antibodies. Common reactions to dust mite feces can include itching, sneezing, watery eyes, wheezing, headaches, fatigue and even depression.   


Your Mattress 

Among the most common places for dust mites to harbor is inside your mattress. When it comes to choosing a mattress, reducing humidity and increasing breathability is crucial, especially in controlling dust mites. If your mattress or pillow consists of non-breathable synthetic foams, polyester fibers or down feathers, these materials can trap moisture, and dust mites thrive in environments with relative humidity over 50%It is also important to control the buildup of dead skin cells which serve as the food source to dust mites.  

Coil mattresses are the least favorable for allergy sufferers due to their innerspring design where dust mites, their droppings and dead skins cells can accumulate. Fluffy pillow tops with light, loose padding and soft synthetic fibers can also create a breeding ground for these pests. 

Most of us vacuum our floors on a regular basis and occasionally vacuum our sofas and chairs as well, but when was the last time you vacuumed your mattress? Periodically vacuuming the surface of your mattress can help remove dust mites, their food source and their allergen-inducing remnants. A leading bag-less vacuum manufacturer has even designed a hand-held vacuum just for this purpose, but any vacuum cleaner is capable of the job. Make sure to use the crevice tool to access those deep recesses where dust mites often hide.  

Another aggravator while sleeping, although most people don’t even give it a second thought, could be the chemicals found in traditional mattresses. Unfortunately, most conventional mattresses use polyurethane foams and polyester fabrics that off-gas while you sleep, especially when the mattress is newAs a result of breathing in these off-gassing chemicals, some individuals have reported symptoms like headaches and stuffiness.    

You can eliminate your exposure to these potentially harmful toxins by choosing a mattress made of natural materials such as wool, cotton and latex. Not only do these mattresses eliminate those nasty chemicals that cause respiratory issues, but they also offer a solution for common mattress complaints of aches and pains. 


Mattress Covers & Protection 

If you’re looking for a more immediate or budget-friendly option to minimize the exposure to dust mites, start with waterproof protectors or pads for your mattress and pillow.  These can be found in both synthetic and organic materials. Most can be easily machine washed and dried, allowing you to keep your mattress and pillow surfaces cleaner and drier, while reducing the build-up of allergens in your bedding. 


Start Simple 

If you’re not ready to upgrade your mattress or bedding, there are still some simple steps you can take to help minimize dust mite allergens in the bedroom:   


  • Regularly wash and thoroughly dry sheets, blankets, comforters and mattress pads. 

  • Keep the bedroom dry and clean. 

  • Choose hard surface flooring like wood or tile. If carpet is a must, choose low-pile carpet or area rugs that can periodically be replaced or cleaned.  

  • Don’t go to sleep with wet hair. 

  • Air out the bedroom periodically. 

  • Run a fan in the summertime to disperse humidity. 


From small simple steps to changing out your mattress for a more natural option, there are a number of strategies you can implement to minimize exposure to common bedroom allergens.  Start small and take notice of any improvements. If you don’t feel the difference, keep experimenting and focusing on increasing breathability, while decreasing moisture throughout your bedroom. If you’re thinking about upgrading your mattress, the sleep specialists at Sleep Organics in Sarasota are here to help. They feature only the healthiest, highest quality mattress and bedding options available to help people find solutions to common health problems related to both sleep and the sleep environment.  


For more information, call 941-312-5906 or visit Rebekah Greer is the owner of Sleep Organics and Top Drawer Furniture, both located here in Sarasota.  






Natural Awakenings of Sarasota April 2020 Digital Edition