How to Get Better Sleep by Improving Your Air Quality

Dec 20, 2021

5 min read
Ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? Having gotten the whole eight hours and more and it still doesn’t seem enough?
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Why is indoor air quality important? Clean indoor air can help you sleep better and quality sleep contributes to your health.

If you’ve had a long night of sleep and still feel unrested in the morning, you may not be getting as good a sleep as you think. And the reason could be having poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in your bedroom.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality and what you can do to improve the situation to get clean, fresh air and a better, more refreshing sleep!

Room temperature that’s too hot or too cold

We all have had our share of hot days that make our waking up moments uncomfortable. Having to go through equally hot nights can make sleeping a sweaty and difficult experience. It’s probably why we crank our ACs down to frigid temperatures or turn electric fans towards our faces. However, if you’ve ever been in an uncomfortably cold office or visited a country with freezing weather, you’ll know how unpleasant that can be as well!

The point is that your room temperature has to be in the right range—not too hot and not too cold. This has to do with something called the circadian rhythm, which is your body’s natural, internal process that governs your sleep cycle. Your body’s internal temperature automatically shifts around the time you sleep, and if that internal temperature doesn’t align properly with your room’s temperature, you’re bound to get poor sleep.

The right temperature contributes to the quality of your sleep.

On one hand, if it’s too hot, you can sweat and end up dehydrated, tiring you out while still making it difficult to sleep. Even when you do finally fall asleep, high temperatures can increase your core body temperature, decreasing the time you spend in the healing slow-wave sleep and reducing your overall sleep quality.

On the other hand, if it’s too cold, it can make you shiver and cause your muscles to tense up, which leads to cramps and restless sleep. It can also be simply uncomfortable, disrupting the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of your sleep and negatively affecting your blood pressure.

 

What you can do:

Here in the Philippines, you can set your AC’s temperature setting or your thermostat to at least 22°C or lower (but not so low that you feel uncomfortable) an hour or so before you intend to tuck in so your body recognizes that it’s time to sleep.

Another thing you can do is prepare different sets of blankets or linens for the hotter, dry seasons and the colder, wet seasons. Use a lightweight blanket or thin sheet during the hot months, and layer them or use a thicker blanket or comforter during the cold months.

Humidity that’s too high or too low

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air and just like with temperature, you need to have the right balance of it to get proper sleep. With humidity that’s too high, you’ll feel sticky; if you sweat in high humidity, it won’t evaporate from your skin. When humidity is too low, the result is dry air which can make it hard to breathe as it dries out your mouth and nasal passages. It also makes your skin itchy and feel like it’s cracking. Either way, good sleep will be hard to come by.

 

What you can do:

The goal is to have a relative humidity of 40-50%. You can get a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed to aid in this. Also, depending on the model, ACs can act as either a humidifier or dehumidifier in addition to their main role of cooling the air. If you set your AC’s thermostat fan to auto mode, it will run the fan only when necessary, and prevent the air from becoming too dry or too moist.

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Allergens

Airborne allergens floating in the air like dust, pollen, and pet dander can affect you even while you’re sleeping. Since you tend to take deeper, more regular breaths automatically while sleeping, you may inhale a lot more allergens if they happen to be present. If you’re particularly sensitive, you could suffer allergy or asthma attacks, coughing fits, or a runny or clogged nose during your sleep, which could lead to you waking up exhausted and unrested. And even if you aren’t sensitive, a dusty environment filled with dust mites could make you sneeze or cough uncontrollably.

Allergens such as dust mites, mold, dust, pollen, and other particles can impact the quality of your sleep. Use an air purifier system.

What you can do:

You can change your sheets and pillowcases regularly, and/or wrap your pillows and mattresses in dust mite-proof covers.

Another thing you can do is invest in an air purifier to clean your home’s air. Models that use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are excellent at capturing and trapping most allergens, which make them all-around godsends for people with allergies or asthma.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds are noxious chemicals that are dispersed through the air through common household items and appliances. They can come from things like cleaning products, aerosol sprays (such as deodorants, hairsprays, and bug sprays), paint, exhaust from electronics, and miniscule bits of oil that spray upwards when cooking. They can trigger allergies, cause headaches, and do damage to your lungs over time. They are considered pollutants, and if they find a way into your bedroom, you could unknowingly inhale them while you sleep, causing eventual respiratory problems and possibly sleep apnea.

 

What you can do:

If you’ve used items that expel VOCs in your bedroom, take care to air it out before you sleep. You could open a window and turn on the fan. If you have the extra space, you could consider relocating your heavy-use electronics like your computer and printer to an in-home office rather than your bedroom. If you like air fresheners, try using non-chemical ones or natural-scented oils instead. Also, as they do with allergens, air purifiers with HEPA filters are extremely capable of filtering VOCs out of your air.

An air purifier system can trap allergens so you can have enough high-quality sleep.

Nothing beats waking up refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the day after a good night’s sleep! With these tips, you’re sure to get much-improved indoor air quality and the restful sleep that comes with it!

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