Do you wake up feeling groggy, exhausted, drained of energy? You’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more than one-third of Americans don’t consistently get enough sleep. You know some of the more common culprits, like drinking caffeine too close to bedtime and scrolling on your phone before trying to sleep. But did you know that air quality can also impact how much sleep you get and how good that rest is?
The Connection Between Air Quality and Sleep
The two seem like they shouldn’t be related. After all, you don’t necessarily feellike your breathing is impacted; but it is.
Specifically, bad air quality can negatively affect your upper airways by causing congestion. Think about your reaction to allergens like dust, pollen, mold, or animal hair/dander. What happens? You experience a stuffy, runny nose; your eyes itch and water; your throat might hurt.
Of course, these undesirable effects can extend to the quality and length of your sleep. Allergens can make it difficult to get the rest you need because they disturb the deep, regular breathing that you need in order to achieve sufficient restorative sleep.
Poor air quality can also increase the chances that you’re going to suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when your breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you’ve ever heard someone snore, get quiet, and then choke a little as they start audibly breathing again, that’s sleep apnea.
There’s something else to consider: volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are airborne chemicals released by common household items like electronics and furniture — including mattresses. VOCs can make your allergies worse and even cause headaches, among other health complications.
While a definite causation has not yet been established, there is undoubtedly a relationship between the air you breathe and sleep. In fact, one study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healthlooked at the air pollution in Beijing, China, and the sleep duration of university freshmen.
The researchers found that “one standard deviation increase in environmental variables” was possibly associated with a decrease in sleep duration by 30 minutes and up.
Outside of allergens and the issues that they can cause for your sleep, we must also consider humidity. If there’s too much humidity in the air that you’re breathing, you might end up feeling overly warm with itchy skin and a dry nose — all of which can seriously impact how well you’re able to sleep.
So, now that you know that air quality and sleep are linked, what can you do to improve the air that you breathe inside your home?
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality for Better Sleep
Improving the air quality is sometimes simpler than you might think. Here are a few tactics that you can try.
Keep it Clean When it Matters
Your home doesn’t need to be spotless; but strategically spot-cleaning throughout the week can improve the air quality of your home and your allergies — and thus, your sleep.
Make a point of vacuuming carpets and rugs, which love hanging onto allergens like dust and pet hair/dander. The same goes for bedding, curtains, and drapes. Vacuum what you can, and throw the rest in the washing machine.
While it can be harder to clean your mattress, there are ways to at least improve its cleanliness. For example, you can sprinkle baking soda on it, let it sit, and then vacuum it up. (Baking soda can absorb moisture and odors.)
Save Plants for the Outdoors
This one might surprise you, because plants are often touted for improving air quality, and they can! But they can also carry mold. For this reason, you might want to consider limiting greenery to the outdoors.
Control the Humidity
You’ve probably heard that bacteria love moisture. This is why having an overly-humid home can spell trouble for your air quality and your sleep. In particular, it can attract dust mites and foster mold growth.
While the ideal humidity for indoors has been debated, it ranges from 30% to 60% (and never above 60%). This will help to keep those allergens under control and help you sleep comfortably.
Also, be mindful of dampness in your home. For example, after you take a shower, consider opening the window in the bathroom, if you have one. At the very least, leave the door open. Play close attention to your laundry room, too. That can be another troublesome room in your home.
Bring an Air Purifier Inside
Air purifiers have grown in popularity over the last few years, and for a good reason. They can make a noticeable difference in how you feel inside your home.
Sans, for instance, offers four layers of protection: the pre-filter, HEPA 13 filter, activated carbon 13 filter, and the UV-C light.
Between the first two layers, Sans is able to trap solid particles big and small. The activated carbon filter is responsible for removing harmful chemicals floating around as gases, stemming from items in your home like furniture and cleaning products. This layer also gets rid of any foul odors. Finally, the UV-C light neutralizes the pathogens and microorganisms that your Sans air purifier has collected, so that they can’t grow on the filters and make you sick.
In addition to taking measures like keeping your home clean, controlling the humidity, and leaving plants outdoors, Sans can work wonders for your indoor air quality and the quality and duration of your sleep.
We don’t often look to our air quality when it comes to waking up feeling restless; but now you know that there is indeed a relationship. Improve the air that you breathe, and your sleep might very well benefit, as well.
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