As the day comes to an end, there’s nothing better than anticipating a good night’s sleep. You perform your regular routine before bedtime… exercise, dinner with dessert or maybe dessert with dinner, catching the latest episode of CSI, and a hot bath or shower. You crawl into your bed, your sanctuary, for the next 6–8 hours. Lights out.
Unfortunately, like most nights, you toss and turn throughout the night, or wake up with a stuffy nose or “sleep hangover” (you know, when you slept well, but still wake up and feel like you need more sleep). You may come up with a number of excuses as to why you didn’t sleep well, and then shrug it off as if nothing is wrong. But the reality is it isn’t your mattress, it isn’t your husband snoring, it wasn’t something you ate or that chamomile tea you didn’t drink. You didn’t sleep well because of the bad air you were breathing during the night.
The quality of the air does affect your sleep and poor air can cause not only a reduced quality of sleep, but can also increased the risk of sleep-disordered breathing such as sleep apnea (this is when a person briefly stops breathing during sleep). Scary, right? While children and the elderly are highly affected by air quality, everyone feels the effects of poor air quality in the bedroom. In addition, both children (newborns) and the elderly are affected by air quality. Read more about healthy air and newborns here.
Some of the things you should pay attention to with your home’s air include:
The temperature of your bedroom can affect how well you will sleep at night, so we suggest sleeping in a room with the temperature set around 65° F (18° C). In addition, make sure that there’s an ample amount of ventilation in the room as stagnant air can interfere with that night’s sleep.
Depending on the season, humidity plays an important role in how well you’ll sleep during the night. If the humidity is too low in your sleeping area, you can wake up with dry skin, a sore throat and/or develop psoriasis. This dry air can even irritate your immune system enough to trigger a cold or flu. If the humidity is too high it can cause mold to grow and spread, which is also dangerous for you to be breathing in. To ensure that you’re sleeping in a healthy environment, maintain a 50% humidity level throughout the year.
Not sure how to do that? Consider getting Awair for your home and syncing it with your bedroom humidifier. Awair will monitor the air in your bedroom and turn on the humidifier when it’s needed so you don’t have to worry about it.
Air Quality (Dust and VOCs, Volatile Organic Compounds)
VOCs are carbon-based chemicals that reduce sleep quality while increasing sleep-disordered breathing. While they’re found in a number of household or commercial products, such as cosmetics and paints, they can affect a person’s health over a long period of exposure (read more here). People who have asthma, skin conditions or are sensitive to chemicals will have larger amount of symptoms than others.
Dust will also linger around the air during the day and night, and can cause the development of bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. We suggest removing any carpets or rugs you may have in your bedroom area because they collect dust and other particles that are detrimental to both your sleep and health. If you can’t part with the rugs, at the very least make sure to vacuum well weekly and then twice a year do a deep clean/shampooing of your rug to really get it clean.
In order to decrease the amount of VOCs in the air, you need to increase ventilation. This includes opening windows to allow fresh air to enter or installing air filter systems to maintain air quality. You may also reduce the number of household items that contain VOCs, such as baking soda and vinegar.
The above four components should be monitored to ensure a good night’s sleep. Good news is Awair can do this all for you then alert you when something needs to be done (like when it’s time to clean a rug), and can even be programmed to turn some machines on automatically to maintain healthy air in your home. A clean and comfortable environment is key and the air quality is the most important factor of all. Open those windows, lower those thermostats, and be cautious as to what type of household products you use. Sleep well and breathe happy!