Many will have heard the increase in sneezing and sniffling in the office in recent weeks.
Millions of people in the UK suffer from hay fever – and the season is now well and truly here.
What’s more, according to AllergyUK, stuffy symptoms, such as a runny nose, cough or itchy eyes, can even prevent some people from getting a good night’s sleep.
Here, Sammy Margo – a sleep expert at Dreams – shared her top tips for hitting the hay – without a fever.
These include simpler solutions like taking a hot shower before bed – to more bizarre tricks, like sleeping with a rice-filled sock to relieve sinus pressure.
“It’s no secret that hay fever is synonymous with trouble sleeping, which leads to daytime fatigue, irritability and decreased productivity,” Sammy explained.
“It is therefore important that people with hay fever take steps to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of sleep.”
Sammy says sinus pressure is a common symptom of hay fever – and, strange as it may sound – stuffing a sock with rice is one way to tackle it. Used stock image
TAKE A HOT SHOWER BEFORE BED
“Hay fever can cause nasal congestion and inflammation, which can lead to difficulty breathing and sleeping,” Sammy says.
“Steam from a hot shower can help relieve nasal congestion by loosening mucus and reducing inflammation in the nasal passages.”
The sleep expert also explains that a good, relaxing shower can help you stay calmer when you go to bed and manage your body temperature as it prepares for sleep.
SLEEP WITH A SOCK FILLED WITH RICE
Sammy says sinus pressure is a common symptom of hay fever – and, strange as it may sound – stuffing 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 explains.
“To make sure it’s not too hot, sleeping with a sock filled with rice is a simple and effective method that can help relieve sinus pressure caused by hay fever.”
The expert says the heat from the sock will help relieve sinus discomfort and promote relaxation.
“Additionally, the weight of the sock can provide gentle pressure that can help relieve headaches and other forms of discomfort caused by hay fever,” she added.
USE ANTI-ALLERGIC BEDDING
The sleep expert praises anti-allergy bedding as a “great investment” for those who suffer from hay fever. Used stock image
Sammy praises allergy bedding as a ‘great investment’ for those who suffer from hay fever – as it is “designed to ward off allergens such as pollen and dust mites”.
“These pillows, duvets and mattress protectors from Dreams are made with special materials that prevent the buildup of allergens,” she added.
“Which may help reduce hay fever symptoms and improve sleep quality.”
SLEEP IN RECLINED POSITION
This may be an all-too-familiar trick for anyone who has trouble sleeping with a runny nose.
“Hay fever can cause nasal congestion and postnasal drip,” says Sammy. “Which can make it difficult to breathe and sleep comfortably.
“Sleeping in a reclined position can help relieve congestion and reduce post-nasal drip.
“That’s because the reclined position can help clear mucus from the nasal passages, allowing air to flow more freely through the airways.”
She says a specially designed pillow or fitted headboard can be ways to do this.
USE A NETI POT
Sammy explains that another useful tool could be a neti pot – often used to relieve congestion.
“Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution using a neti pot can help flush pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages,” she said.
“It can reduce inflammation and congestion, making it easier to breathe and sleep more comfortably.”
The saline solution, adds the expert, is a “natural and gentle way to clean the nasal passages” – and can help relieve symptoms without causing side effects.
DRINK HERBAL TEA
Drinking herbal tea can help promote a restful night’s sleep by promoting relaxation and helping to fight hay fever symptoms.
Certain herbs – like nettle leaf – have natural antihistamine properties, which can help 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 reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a restful night’s sleep.”
AVOID DAIRY PRODUCTS
A protein found in dairy products – called casein – has been shown to increase mucus production in some people. Used stock image
Thanks to a protein called casein, milkshakes and cheese platters can be your worst enemy, even if they’re tempting on a sunny day.
This is because it has been shown to increase mucus production in some people.
“For this reason, people with hay fever or allergies are recommended to avoid consuming dairy products in the evening,” Sammy advised.
“As they can make congestion and other symptoms worse.
“By doing so, hay fever and allergy sufferers may see a reduction in mucus production and congestion, leading to better breathing and a more restful night’s sleep.”
WEAR AN EYE MASK
“An eye mask can help block out light and create a darker sleeping environment, which can help relieve hay fever symptoms and promote better sleep,” says Sammy.
First, having a liner can help “avoid rubbing and itchy eyes” – which is a common symptom.
Additionally, by reducing light exposure, “the body is better able to produce melatonin, which can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and promote more restful sleep.”
Acupressure can help relieve some hay fever symptoms, Sammy revealed.
“The sinus pressure and congestion caused by hay fever can make it difficult to breathe through your nose and lead to snoring, which can disrupt sleep quality,” she explained.
“Acupressure can 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.”