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Don't let allergies prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. To protect yourself, the best strategy is to either eliminate the source of the allergy, or to minimize your exposure to it.

Up to eighty percent of the dust in your bedroom either was or still is alive, and is a major source of allergies. And not just the visible dust "bunnies" on the floor. The airborne dust seen in the rays of sunlight shining through the window contain the same materials. Dust is comprised of pollen, pet dander, skin, fungi, bacteria, dust mites, and other unwanted irritants. If you suffer from allergies, start with removing the dust!Clean your bedroom regularly, especially if you have carpets and/or drapery. Wipe floors, furniture, and tops of doors, windowsills and walls with a damp cloth to trap particles. Use a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner and invest in a HEPA air purifier. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arresting. These filters remove 99.7% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger. Pollen is typically 5-200 microns, a human hair about 75 microns across.Launder your bedding weekly in hot water-at least 130 degrees to kill dust mites. Use allergen barrier covers for your mattress and pillows, such as the Sleep Number® Zip and Block Pillow Protector. You may also be interested in some of the newer fabrics that offer a Natural Allergy Defense bedding solution. Sleep Number True Silver™ bedding is woven with 99.9% pure silver fibers to provide superior allergen protection against dust mites and pet dander. Also, make sure all of your bedding is hypoallergenic. When changing your bedding, vacuum your mattress (outside and inside if you can!).

Undress in another room to avoid bringing in allergens from outside. During heavy pollen season, shower before bedtime. Our pets spend more time outdoors during the spring and summer months and are a big source of unwanted contaminants during the allergy season. So bathe them frequently (or ban them from the bedroom).

In your children's rooms, don't forget about the stuffed animals. They are an excellent breeding ground for dust mites. Launder them as often as you do your bedding.

If you don't air condition the house, invest in a dehumidifier. Dust mites and other growths thrive in humidity over 50%.

If all else fails and your sleep is still interrupted by your allergies, consult your primary health care provider-or your allergist. Sleep is too important to compromise!