Be it seasonal or environmental, allergies are a pain. Whether it’s that pet you can’t quit or the city you can’t move away from, sometimes there is not much you can do to avoid them.
One space you shouldn’t have to worry about itchy eyes, runny noses, and sneeze attacks is in bed.
Did you know that some sheets are better for allergy sufferers than others? In the same way, pets are hypoallergenic (I’m looking at you, Bo, the presidential Portuguese water dog), you can find the right bed sheets for allergies that can help cut down on itching and sneezing.
Allergy flare-ups happen when the immune system responds to a foreign agent invading the body. These agents — dander, dust, pollen, etc.— force the body to produce antibodies to ward off the invasion. You may suffer from mild allergies with symptoms like an itchy nose or watery eyes. You face a more severe reaction if you have symptoms such as hives or swelling.
Some people suffer from allergies year-round, while others only deal with symptoms during specific weather and seasonal situations.
Can you cure allergies?
Unfortunately, there is no real cure for allergies. Instead, we can only hope to control them. In addition to OTC medicines to neutralize the allergens, one of the best things you can do is take care of your environment. One of the most common household allergens is dust. Dust is known to collect all the potential allergens in your home — from pet dander to bug droppings— and store it under your bed, or in that corner, you neglected to vacuum.
By keeping to a regular cleaning schedule, you can reduce the likelihood of allergy flare-ups caused by dust. Part of the regularly scheduled cleaning should be changing your sheets.
Which bed sheets are best for preventing allergies?
When you’re in the market for sheets to cut down on your allergy suffering, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider.
There are four main fabrics you’ll come across in your search for bed sheets.
- Silk: Created by silkworms, amazingly soft, more challenging to manage
- Bamboo: Extracted from the bamboo plant, natural antimicrobial properties, moisture-wicking
- Tencel®: Manufactured from sustainable Eucalyptus trees, super absorbent, incredibly smooth
- Cotton: Easy to care for, soft, super popular
As you look for bedsheets to off-set potential allergens, there are a few features that you will see time after time:
As mentioned above, the term hypoallergenic means “unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.” When considering the bed sheets for allergies, looking for hypoallergenic in the description means you are getting a sheet that provides the first line of defense against flare-ups or outbreaks. You should note that there is no standard “definition,” at least as far as the FDA is concerned, of hypoallergenic, so that is left to each company to define for themselves.
Pilling or “anti-pilling”
Some sheets in this space offer customers assurances that they are “anti-pilling” or “non-pilling.” Pilling is a common annoyance in sheets and fabrics that happens throughout use or repeated washing. A sheet set that is is anti-pilling means fewer uncomfortable and unseemly piles on your sheets. Each pile on a sheet could act as a little loofa, dislodging skin and dust particles from your body, only to have them left on your sheets. Yuck.
Wicking happens when liquid is absorbed or withdrawn from a surface. In this case, when you sweat, sheets that have moisture-wicking technology will draw it away from your body. Some studies report that 41% of sleepers complain of excessive night sweating. Some reports even say that it is possible to lose up to one liter of fluids per night. Moisture-wicking sheets absorb this liquid and help you regulate your body temperature.
On the other hand, it’s essential to routinely wash this type of sheet. Just because you can’t see the sweat doesn’t mean it’s gone. Instead of leaving an imprint on your sheets, the moisture is absorbed into the sheet’s tiny fibers.
Not to go too “periodic table” on you, but looking for sheets with “silver-infused fibers” is one of the most effective ways to combat bacteria in the bedroom. Using silver in fabrics means introducing an element that thwarts bacteria before it can thrive and cause you problems. Limiting foul odors and general bedroom germs, silver-infused sheets meet these invading elements and release silver nanoparticles that effectively neutralize the scents and bacterias. Commonly found in socks and t-shirts, silver is making huge in-roads into sheets as well.
If your itchy eyes and runny nose start the second you wake up, then it might be time to look into changing your bedsheets. There are hundreds of options on the market for you to choose from, but there are a few key technologies, fabrics, and features that can help. If you want to know more about bed sheets and each’s pros and cons, I do have a handy explainer that you can find here. While you can’t cure allergies, there are steps you can take to positively impact their ability to ruin your day.