Where you you head when you feel congested and draggy? To bed, of course — not realizing that hidden irritants in your bedroom may be causing those annoying symptoms. Luckily, a few easy tweaks can eliminate problems, help you breathe easy — and chase away daytime tiredness — within one week!
Get rid of the dust with vinegar
Dusting each week with a cloth slightly dampened in diluted white vinegar (1/2 cup vinegar per 1/2 gallon of water) can triple the amount of sinus-irritating dust, dander, and germs that you remove from your bedroom, easing congestion, an itchy throat, and other sleep-depriving symptoms in as little as 10 days, research shows.
Repot your houseplants
The soil in most potted plants gives off mold spores, which, if inhaled while you sleep, can trigger throat inflammation, a dry cough and other symptoms, says allergist Christopher Randolph, MD. Since mold thrives in damp conditions, choosing plants that stay healthy even if they’re allowed to dry out between waterings (such as cacti, pothos, dragon trees, and jade and snake plants) can cut mold growth dramatically, Yale experts say.
Use soy candles
Paraffin wax candles give off so many chemicals, they can send bedroom pollutant levels into a zone considered illegal outdoors — and many of those chemicals irritate airways, leading to nightly throat irritation, chest tightness, and even wheezing, says Paula Baillie-Hamilton, MD, author of Toxic Overload ($33.44, Amazon). Simply switching to naturally scented or fragrance-free organic soy-based candles like Mrs. Meyer’s Honeysuckle ($9.68, Amazon) should make the hidden problem disappear!
Replace your vacuum filter
Bedroom carpets can harbor up to 100 times more dust and dander than wood floors! But there’s no need to give up that comfy cushioning beneath your feet. Instead, get rid of those sleep-sabotaging irritants by vacuuming your bedroom twice weekly and replacing your vacuum filter every six months. Together, those steps can often cut tiredness, congestion, and other allergy symptoms 61 percent, researchers say.
Open the window
A tightly sealed bedroom in winter can lead to low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels that leave you foggy-headed and tired. Opening your bedroom windows for five minutes in the AM and again at bedtime lets fatiguing carbon dioxide out and energizing oxygen in.
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