What’s the Buzz on Clean Sleep?

“According to the American Sleep Association, clean sleep, also known as sleep hygiene, is defined as the practices and habits one can create to promote good sleep on a regular basis.”

“According to the American Sleep Association, clean sleep, also known as sleep hygiene, is defined as the practices and habits one can create to promote good sleep on a regular basis.”

Summary:

  • Quality sleep is essential to overall health and well-being
  • Clean sleep includes the practices and habits that promote better sleep
  • Sticking to a bedtime routine and improving your sleep environment can help enhance sleep quality

What Does Clean Sleep Mean?

From clean eating to clean beauty and clean lifestyles, people are increasingly gravitating toward more natural, less processed, and more wholesome habits that may promote better overall health. So, how does clean sleep fit into this trend?

According to the American Sleep Association, clean sleep, also known as sleep hygiene, is defined as, “the practices and habits one can create to promote good sleep on a regular basis.” Simply put, clean sleep is about prioritizing your sleep health for your greater well-being.

Why Quality Sleep is Important

Sleep is vital to overall health, so if you’re not consistently getting quality sleep, it can reduce productivity and increase the chances for mishaps (think: motor accidents). Regular poor sleep can even have an influence on basic patterns of behavior that affect family health and interpersonal relationships. If ignored, ongoing poor sleep habits can lead to sleep disorders, which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

How Can You Improve Your Sleep Health?

  • Stick to a Routine: Implementing a sleep routine can be key to achieving better sleep. Research shows going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time every morning, including on the weekends, can aid in better quality sleep.
  • Avoid Devices and Vices: Shut down electronic screens 30-45 minutes before bed since the blue light they emit can suppress the secretion of melatonin, the key hormone that controls sleep. Instead of watching TV or scrolling through your phone, consider picking up a book or listening to a calming podcast. It’s also recommended to avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco before bed as those can also disrupt quality sleep.
  • Improve Your Sleep Environment: A clean, relaxing sleep environment is an easy way to help achieve a better night’s rest. Consider implementing simple measures like washing your bedding in water 130°F or hotter weekly and using allergen-barrier bedding like AllerEase. AllerEase bedding products block up to 99.9% of allergens such as dust mites, bed bugs and other irritants that can disrupt sleep. What’s more, many AllerEase products are hot water washable which makes removing bacteria, dirt, and surface allergens a breeze, and AllerEase pillows can even be safely re-fluffed in your dyer!  
  • Stay Active During the Day: While it might sound counterintuitive, regular exercise and physical activity during the day can help you to fall asleep easier at night and stay asleep longer. However, try to wrap rigorous physical activity before 2:00p.m. to ensure it doesn’t disrupt sleep later at night.

Taking the time to establish healthy habits, including those to achieve cleaner sleep, will benefit your overall health for years to come.

References:

Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

*Sleep Health. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Sleep Hygiene Tips. American Sleep Association.

Tips for Better Sleep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Allergy-Proof Your Home. Mayo Clinic.

Allergy Season is Here

Here’s Why Allergy Season is Getting Longer

“With the threat of longer, more intense allergy seasons looming, taking preventative measures to combat symptoms will be key to managing allergies.”

“With the threat of longer, more intense allergy seasons looming, taking preventative measures to combat symptoms will be key to managing allergies.”

Summary:

  • More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies
  • Each season has different allergy triggers
  • Warmer global temperatures are extending allergy seasons

Seasonal Allergies

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates more than 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies each year. When it comes to the amount and type of allergens triggering symptoms, it ultimately depends on the geographic region and season.

In most parts of the country, tree and grass pollen are present from March to May, but in the southern region, some trees produce pollen as early as January and peak at multiple times throughout the year. And while grass pollen peaks in the late spring and early summer in northern regions, it releases during multiple seasons in the south, wreaking year-round havoc for allergy sufferers. In the fall, ragweed is the main culprit for allergies as it peaks in late summer and is easily picked up by the wind making it nearly unavoidable.

An Extended Season

Are your allergy symptoms starting earlier? Do they feel like they’re lasting longer? You’re not alone. According to new research* the annual amount of pollen may increase up to 200% by the end of the century due to rising temperatures and an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. What’s more, pollen emissions could begin up to 40 days earlier in the spring and the season may last up to an additional 19 days before the high pollen count subsides.

Climate Change to Blame

The short answer for why this is all happening: climate change. Pollen production depends on how the plant grows, and with rising global temperatures, plant growth is expected to boom in certain areas, affecting overall pollen production. However, research shows increased temperatures are only part of the problem. Rising carbon dioxide emissions will also impact pollen production in the years to come. While higher temperatures have the potential to extend the growing season, carbon dioxide fuels photosynthetic capacity, which can increase pollen production.

Research also shows climate change and rising temperatures are impacting weather patterns and the frequency of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and wildfires. These occurrences bring mold and mildew-causing moisture or airborne particulates into the atmosphere, which can also irritate respiratory systems.

What It Means for Allergy Sufferers

With the threat of longer, more intense allergy seasons looming, taking preventative measures to combat symptoms will be key to managing allergies. If you’re an allergy sufferer, keep an eye on daily pollen counts, work to minimize exposure to known triggers, and use allergen-barrier bedding like AllerEase to keep dust mites, pet dander and bed bugs at bay. For more tips on managing allergies, see here.

References:

Blue and yellow sponge rags and bottles for spring cleaning

6 Allergen-Trapping Tips for Spring Cleaning

“Did you know Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors*** where allergens are ever present in the air and on surfaces?”

Did you know Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors*** where allergens are ever present in the air and on surfaces?”

Summary:

  • Nearly 8 in 10 Americans participate in spring cleaning
  • The annual ritual can aggravate allergy symptoms
  • Minimizing dust and “dust traps” through cleaning can help

Spring cleaning is an annual routine practiced by 78% of Americans* and while maintaining a clean home is important for all, this spring ritual can be bad news for allergy sufferers since it often stirs up dust mites and other allergens. For those with allergies, taking measures to mitigate exposure to dust and other irritants when tackling spring cleaning may help reduce severity of symptoms.

What Allergens are Lurking Indoors?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors where allergens are ever present in the air and on surfaces. Whether it’s pets shedding dander, pollen getting tracked in on shoes and clothes, dust mites making their homes in plush surfaces or bed bugs penetrating bedding, there are many contaminants that can negatively affect your indoor environment.

Why Is Spring Cleaning Important for Allergy Sufferers?

Spring cleaning is especially important if you or your family suffer from allergies as it can decrease the amount of triggers throughout the home and reduce the potential for dangerous flare-ups. Luckily, there are simple steps allergy sufferers can take to thoroughly spring clean while mitigating exposure to irritants.

How Can You Tackle Spring Cleaning and Allergens?

1. Don’t Let Triggers Build Up: Start at the source by removing clutter that easily attracts dust such as books, magazines and unnecessary decorative items. If pet dander contributes to your allergies, be sure to bathe your furry friend weekly and keep them groomed to limit the amount of dander in your home.

2. Remove Dust and Pollen: Dust surfaces, fans, and windowsills to reduce dust and dust mites. Wash and sanitize hard surfaces, but be sure to avoid harsh cleaners that can trigger allergy symptoms. Mop hard floors and thoroughly vacuum carpet to minimize irritants that may not be visible to the everyday eye. Wipe down walls (yes, seriously!) as these surfaces collect dust and are often neglected during routine cleanings.

3. Wash Linens: Be sure to use washable bedding, rugs, and curtains whenever possible. Aim to wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets in water 130°F or hotter** weekly. Encase pillows and mattresses with allergen-barrier bedding such as AllerEase to prevent the buildup of allergens throughout the year.

4. Address Mildew and Mold: Thoroughly clean any area of the home prone to mold and mildew, paying particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom where heat and moisture can help mold thrive.

5. Improve Indoor Air Quality: Exposure to poor indoor air quality can have negative effects on overall health, especially for those who suffer from allergies. Consider using a high-performing air purifier to remove airborne allergens and reduce VOCs. Replace air filters as part of your spring cleaning routine and every 3-6 months thereafter.

6. Mask Up for Dirty Jobs: Face masks are surprisingly effective at preventing the inhalation of allergens and irritants while spring cleaning, so you can reap the benefits of a clean home without huffing sniffle-inducing particles. Some allergists even recommend sensitive groups wear them outdoors on high pollen days.

While spring cleaning will improve your home’s indoor environment, taking careful steps to prevent exposure to dust and other irritants while you clean may reduce your risk of developing allergy symptoms when you do.

References:

Yellow wildflowers of rapeseed buckwheat in summer

Allergy Season is Upon Us, Here’s What to Know

“Knowing your seasonal allergy triggers is essential to fighting them.”

“Knowing your seasonal allergy triggers is essential to fighting them.”

Summary:

  • Trees and grasses release pollen in the spring, which can trigger allergy symptoms
  • Knowing your triggers can help you minimize exposure
  • Use protective clothing and bedding to prevent allergens from collecting on you and in your bed

Understanding Spring Allergies

Spring is a time for rejuvenation: it brings longer days, warmer weather, and the prospect of endless outdoor activities. But smelling the roses isn’t always ideal for allergy-sufferers, who make up an estimated 50% of people in the U.S., according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. So, why is spring synonymous with allergy season?

In many areas of the country, starting in February and March, different trees, weeds and other plants produce pollen which eventually makes its way into our eyes, noses, and lungs and can wreak havoc for allergy sufferers. While the biggest spring allergy culprit is pollen, mold from rotting logs and fallen leaves can also cause irritation.

Recognizing Spring Allergy Symptoms and Triggers

Some of the most common seasonal allergy symptoms include: runny nose, stuffy nose, red and watery eyes, and itchy nose, eyes, ears, and mouth – all of which can negatively impact your waking hours and inhibit quality sleep at night. In some cases, people experience exacerbated asthma symptoms, increased eye swelling, clogged ears and headaches.

Knowing your seasonal allergy triggers is essential to fighting them. Tree types like birch, cedar, elm, and maple, create the first pollen to fall each year, and will often overlap with different grass pollen emissions, including that of Bermuda, Kentucky, and Orchard. Some seasonally-related activities may also cause symptoms to flare, including campfire smoke, chlorine from swimming pools and hottubs, and bug bites.

Managing Spring Allergies

Taking precautionary measures is key to enjoying spring activities free from pesky allergy symptoms.

  1. Plan ahead: Check your local pollen and mold forecast before outdoor activities and adjust accordingly, whether you use an antihistamine or wear protective eyewear or clothing to keep allergens from collecting on you.
  2. Avoid spending long periods of time outdoors on dry, windy days. The best time for allergy sufferers to be outdoors is after a long rain when pollen has been cleared from the air.
  3. After spending an extended period of time outside, be sure to shower and change into clothes to prevent irritants such as pollen from getting in your eyes and nose, making symptoms worse.
  4. Regularly change and wash bedding in water 130°F or hotter* and use allergen-barrier bedding to help to reduce the amount of pollen, dust mites, pet dander, bed bugs, and other irritants lurking in your bed.
  5. Consult a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve to explore other treatment options.

Don’t let your allergies stop you from reaping all of spring’s rewards. Pinpoint your allergy triggers and take action against your symptoms with these simple steps.

References: