All you need to know about the house dust mite
For the Curious

Children at risk from dust mite allergy and poor sleep

Doctors and child psychiatrists looked at the harm from poor sleeping patterns in children and identified active allergies as a risk. They then coined the phrase, 'a need for good sleep hygiene'. Sleep hygiene includes, 'avoiding influences likely to make it difficult to get to sleep and sleep soundly'. Poor breathing, coughing or itching from dust mite exposure is a known risk to sound sleep - avoidance has been shown to be beneficial.
'Sleep Hygiene is mainly concerned with ensuring that the sleeping environment is conducive to sleep, encouraging regular sleeping routines and avoiding influences likely to make it difficult to get to sleep and sleep soundly'. (ref.1)

'Allergies must also be added to the list of medical conditions that induce or aggravate childhood sleep problems' (ref. 2)

'Micro-arousals [disturbed sleep patterns] have been associated with impaired cognitive function, mood changes and complaints of fatigue in a variety of clinical disorders' (ref. 3)

'Poorly controlled symptoms of allergic rhinitis may contribute to sleep loss, secondary daytime fatigue, learning impairment, decreased overall cognitive functioning, decreased long-term productivity and decreased quality of life.' (ref. 4)

'Compared with matched controls, children with asthma had significantly more disturbed sleep, tended to have more psychological problems and they performed less well on some tests of memory and concentration.' (ref. 5)

'Mattress and bedding barrier intervention has been shown to reduce mite allergen exposure and improve clinical symptoms of both asthma and rhinitis.' (ref. 6)


1. 'Clinical Services for Sleep Disorders', Stores G, Wiggs L, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1998, 79: 495-497

2. Sleep Disturbance in Children and Adolescents with Disorder of Development: its significance and management. 2001 Professor Gregory Stores, Luci Wiggs. University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry. Chapter 20, Sleep disorders and Childhood Allergy ISSN:0069 4835 Cambridge University Press

3. 'Investigation of sleep disorders including home monitoring', Professor Gregory Stores, Archives of Disease in Childhood,1994; Vol. 71: 184-185

4. 'Complications of Allergic Rhinitis', Russell A Settipane, MD, Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, 1999; Vol. 20, No. 4, p209-213

5. 'Sleep and psychological disturbance in nocturnal asthma\', Stores G, Ellis A J, Crawford C, Thomson A, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1998, Vol 78, No 5 413-419

6. 'Rhinitis, Management Guidelines, Third Edition', 2000, British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, ENT sub-committee, House Dust Mite Avoidance, page 17. Martin Dunitz Ltd publisher, ISBN: 1-85317-969-8