man suffering heading in bed

If you’re like most people, your bedroom likely harbors a wide array of allergens. Don’t worry; it’s not anything you’re doing wrong; our homes are full of dust, dander, and other irritants.

But allergens can have a serious impact on your health, and in the bedroom, they can make it nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep. A lack of sleep is also bad for your health, so how can you knock out those sleep-disrupting allergens?

Take steps to make your bedroom more eco-friendly. Knock out allergens, sleep more easily, and start feeling better. These three simple steps will ease your allergen burden, no chemicals or complicated equipment needed.

Mind Your Mattress

One of the worst allergy triggers in your bedroom resides in the item you spend the most time in contact with — your mattress.

Yes, the average person’s mattress contains between 100,000 and 10 million dust mites. They’ve also taken up residence in your pillow and filled bedding, like comforters. That’s a pretty unpleasant realization, even before you consider the fact that dust mites are one of the most common indoor allergens and they can cause symptoms year-round.

What can you do to kill the nasty critters? Placing your mattress in a hypoallergenic protector can help a lot, as can drying your pillow at a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This will kill the mites. If it isn’t washable, you should replace your pillow every two years because, otherwise, you’re sleeping on a pile of mites and mite droppings.

Clean Up Your Curtains

Window coverings are an important part of creating a healthy sleep environment; you need a dark space if you’re going to get a good night’s sleep.

If you are using conventional curtains, you need to wash them regularly to get rid of dust and other allergens. You should also keep your windows shut if you have a seasonal allergy and when pollen counts are high. Otherwise, you’re just collecting allergens in your curtains.

It’s important to strike a balance between creating an environment that’s conducive to sleep, like a properly darkened room, and one that won’t trigger your allergy symptoms. Sleep disorders and allergy symptoms are so intimately related that many allergists partner with sleep specialists to address the respiratory issues, sleep apnea, and related symptoms that plague allergy patients.

Avoid VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are in a wide variety of common products you’ll find in your home, from paints to carpet and particleboard furniture. And despite widespread awareness of their health effects, they can be hard to avoid.

In the bedroom, for example, you’ll often find VOCs in the polyurethane foam in mattresses, as well as in inexpensive furniture and ordinary paint. Exposure to these products can cause headaches, breathing issues, and nausea, among other symptoms.

Given the potential risks, how do you reduce exposure to VOCs in your sleep space? There are several steps you can take, including ditching the composite wood furniture in favor of solid wood pieces. If new furniture isn’t in your budget, check out local thrift stores for used solid wood pieces to furnish your bedroom.

If you’re at the point where you want to replace your mattress, you might also look for an ecofriendly mattress brand that won’t off-gas into your sleeping space. You don’t need to replace your mattress immediately, but when the time comes, go green.

Control Allergens and Sleep Easier

Creating a maximally healthy bedroom environment should be a priority for any of us, but for those who have allergies, it’s even more important. You can’t control allergen exposures in other spaces, but you can ensure that, at least in your bedroom, you can breathe easy.

By Jenna Cyprus

Jenna is a freelance writer and business consultant who covers business, technology and entrepreneurship. She's lectured for several universities and worked with more than 100 businesses over the course of the past 15 years. She's a mother of two kids, and loves to go camping, hiking and skiing with her family.