Sleep & Allergy
Sleep serves a vital function. We all spend 1/3 of our lives in bed and sufficient hours of good quality sleep in a regular daily rhythm is essential for our mental and physical well-being. Food, exercise and sleep are a three-in-one recipe to make people alert, fit, healthy and happy.
A quiet sleep environment, a relaxing sleep ritual and a good bed will improve the quality and efficiency of your sleep while stress, too much noise or disturbing light tends to have a negative impact. One of the most disturbing “sleep thieves” though is allergy.
Allergy, a very common type of hyper-sensitivity, is an overreaction of the human immune system to specific but otherwise harmless substances, called “allergens”.
Allergens in bed may cause allergic rhinitis, asthma or eczema. People can be allergic to a large variety of allergens like tree and grass pollen, certain types of food, pets, mold, house dust mites, insects bites... .
Allergic Rhinitis (irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose) alone is affecting up to 40% of the population in young adults and poses a considerable burden on public health because of its prevalence, its impact on the quality of life, its impact on productivity and its direct link to asthma. Asthma is a common, chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, often triggered by allergens.
In the sleep environment, House Dust Mite Allergy (HDMA) is a growing reason for concern. Allergic symptoms are triggered each time people inhale the allergen while resting or sleeping. Sensitivity to the house dust mite allergen has a negative impact on the quality of sleep.
Allergy develops over time. During a sensitization period, exposure to the allergen triggers the immune system to produce allergic antibodies (IgE or Immunoglobuline E) in the blood, which result in a positive allergy test.
In the fifties only 5 % of the people had allergies, now we are at 30% with the hygiene hypothesis (we are too clean) and the pollution hypothesis (too much fine dust) trying to explain why.