Seasonal Allergies, Pollen, and My Sleep

I don't know about you, but summer weather brings me much more than longer and warmer days. I live in the UK. It is warm, wet, and light from 4 am to 11 pm, and this means the trees, weeds, and flowers make the most of the few months they can reproduce.

Floaty, fluffy pollen is visible in the air, making some plants happy and successful in their mission.

I love the long days, but along with the pollen, I get very itchy eyes, a puffier face, and worse sleep. Seasonal allergies worsen my sleep and leave me feeling less refreshed on decent nights.

But there are things I have found helpful in reducing the impact of the pollens on my sleep (and on my scratchy eyes when I try to pry them open in the morning)!

In the bedroom, where the magic happens

I keep my bedroom extra clean. I don't just mean tidy but actually clean. Cleaning regularly can improve a room's air quality. Vacuuming, dusting, and closing the windows during key pollination times (morning and evening) has helped me.1

I also shower in the evening before I get into bed. This helps ensure I don't take the pollen I'm carrying on my skin and hair into the bed with me. With less pollen on the pillowcase, I'm less likely to feel extra miserable when I wake up in the morning. And I'm not alone. Generally, a nightly shower can help people with allergies sleep better.1

And one small thing I can add to the previous bedroom tips: I wear a cold compress on my eyes when I sleep. This literally can create a physical barrier so that pollen can't affect my eyes directly. If there is any remaining in the room, that is!


A portable humidifier helps me keep my nose and throat from becoming overly dry, making me less likely to get wheezy and sneezy at night. The drawbacks of using a humidifier might make it a non-starter for you, though: They make noise.

Some make a lot of noise. On the other hand, this may help you fall asleep if you are someone who benefits from white noise. However, I don't care for white noise.

A routine morning regimen

I also have a morning regimen of antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops, and eye sprays, which can help control hay fever symptoms and improve sleep.1

But this never is quite enough to last me 24 hours. If I do this routine in the evening before bed, I run out of "protection" by midday. These things might not be options for you, so many different things are available. Always check with your doctor to be sure of what might be right for you.

Coping with seasonal allergies and insomnia

I haven't done it yet, but I am considering allergen immunotherapy as a long-term solution. However, it is not regularly available in my country's healthcare system, so I'd have to pay privately to get this done.

Based on what I have heard from others, it may be worth it to have months of summer sunshine without the added sleeping issues caused by a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and wakeful sneezing.

Do you find anything especially helpful for your sleep during allergy season? Let us know in the comments below, or share your tips and tricks with the community.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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