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Sleep Foundation Highlights Bedroom Environment

The National Sleep Foundation wants to spread the word on how clean bedding fresh scents can alleviate allergy symptoms and create an optimal atmosphere for a good night's sleep.

Sneezing, wheezing, sniffles and stuffy noses can pose a significant obstacle to getting a good night’s sleep, especially now when allergy season is in full bloom. The NSF is stressing the importance of a clean and fresh bedroom in minimizing those disruptions. 

National Sleep Foundation Environmental Scholar Natalie Dautovich PhD. said that a great night’s sleep can be dramatically impaired by allergy symptoms and that the degree of impairment is related to the severity of those symptoms.

“Everyone wants to wake up feeling great, and what you breathe while you sleep can affect how you feel the next day,” she said. “Allergens in the bedroom environment may include pollen, molds, dust mites or pet dander. In people who are allergic to them, these particles trigger the release of a chemical in the body that causes nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. These symptoms can lead to poor sleep, which can result in significant daytime sleepiness and fatigue. 

“Allergic rhinitis—allergies—may occur year-round or seasonally. This time of year, it is usually caused by airborne particles from trees, grass, ragweed, or outdoor mold.”

According to Dautovich, the best way to cope with allergies is to avoid the allergens and irritants that trigger symptoms.

“If you have allergies, take steps to protect your sleep,” she she said. “Allergy symptoms caused by dust mites in bedding and mattresses may be reduced by washing sheets and blankets once a week in hot water that is at least 130 Fahrenheit and dried in a hot dryer. Most pillows also are washable, even some made of feathers and down. Keeping your sleep surfaces clean, with a pleasing scent, may make the bedroom more inviting and help your body relax and sleep peacefully.

“To minimize your exposure to dust mites and pet dander, it is important to fit your mattress, box spring, and pillows with protective coverings that seal them completely—not just on the top—to keep mites from taking up residence in your bed. In addition, you should vacuum frequently; change air filters monthly; keep your windows closed and the air conditioning on to prevent pollens and pollutants from entering; use a dehumidifier to help prevent to accumulation of mold spores; wash pets regularly and do not sleep in the same room with them; and use vacuums and air cleaners rated for their ability to remove allergens from the air."

She added that people must make time for sleep.

“Being sleep deprived may affect your overall health and prevent your body from defending itself against the allergens that cause your symptoms," she said. "Also, try this tip before bedtime: take a hot shower, which may be relaxing and also may help open nasal passages; a hot shower also can wash away allergens in the hair or on the skin.”

Recent findings from the National Sleep Foundation’s annual Bedroom Poll indicate that 63 percent of Americans say “fresh air, free of allergens” is important to a getting a good night’s sleep, and 37 percent say that allergies have a detrimental impact on their sleep. Additionally, 78 percent of Americans say they are more excited to go to bed if their sheets have a fresh scent, and 71 percent agreed that they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent. About two-thirds rated a clean bedroom as important in getting a good night’s sleep.

Notably, those who agreed that they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent were much more likely than their counterparts to agree that they are more excited to go to bed on sheets with a fresh scent--93 percent versus 49 percent. Also, women were much more likely than men to agree with this statement--82 percent of women versus 70 percent of men. Furthermore, those living in urban areas were much more likely than those living elsewhere to rate sheets with a fresh scent as important--66 percent urban versus 54 percent suburban and 51 percent rural. 

About three in ten survey respondents--29 percent--agreed that they go to bed earlier on sheets with a fresh scent. And when it comes to romance, about two-thirds of respondents, 68 percent, rated a clean bedroom; 61 percent rated fresh air, free of allergens, and 57 percent rated sheets with a fresh scent as important to creating a romantic environment.

National Sleep Foundation CEO David M. Cloud says that the NSF and its Official Licensed Products program are working to bring Americans the best sleep products on the market, as well as disseminating useful sleep health information to educate consumers about the importance of sleep and how to create a bedroom environment that is conducive to a better night’s sleep. 

“Controlling nighttime allergies is a great way to improve your sleep, and the National Sleep Foundation encourages everyone to use mattress, box spring and pillow protectors,” Cloud said. “These products can help consumers rest assured that they are doing all they can to promote a healthy and safe sleep environment.” 

The National Sleep Foundation and its Official Licensed Product partners work together to disseminate information about better sleep through a series of consumer brochures, marketing and merchandising programs, all of which offer consumers a wide variety of sleep informational tips designed to help achieve a better night’s sleep. Brochures offering sleep tips and information are distributed to consumers in Official Licensed Products packages sold through leading retailers.



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