Without question, there are as many varieties of sleeping habits in the world as there are people. Some like to sleep with blackout curtains or a mask to ensure complete darkness. Some like to sleep with a night light either to shine a stumble-free path to the bathroom or to keep the boogie man away. Many like to sleep in the nude; while others like to bundle up from head to toe. There are those who sleep on top of the sheets and blankets and those who hoard them like a spoiled child. And the list goes on. However, Body Designs 219: Is running a fan while you sleep ruining your health will detail the health benefits and detriments to sleeping with a fan on.
Probably the biggest reason people like sleeping with a fan on is the white noise. Many experts have concluded that white noise not only increases the speed in which one falls asleep; it also helps keep the subject asleep longer. The result is a longer, more restful and recuperative sleep.
The most obvious reason to sleep with a fan running is temperature control. Sleep scientists have determined that the optimal temperature for a sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees. While this may be difficult to achieve without air conditioning in So. Cal. during the hot and humid months of summer, for those who don’t have AC, a fan would at least provide a little relief.
A third benefit is proper air ventilation. Since the primary role of a fan is to circulate air, it makes for easier and more efficient breathing of a room’s occupants, This also increases the likelihood of better quality sleep.
While a fan can eliminate odors making a room smell better, if left on too long, it can cause sinus irritations. Fans not only circulate air. They dry air too. And when the air in a room becomes too dry, it irritates the mucous membrane lining of the nasal passages. And when this occurs, the nasal passages try to combat the issue by producing mucus which causes sinus blockages, build-ups and pressure. In many severe cases, this dryness can cause uncontrollable and sporadic nose bleeds.
Dryness of the throat and mouth are other negative results to breathing air that lacks moisture. Believe it or not, this dryness can lead to gum and teeth problems in the long run.
For allergy and asthma suffers, sleeping with a fan on can make symptoms worse. Especially if you do not clean the blades and cover of the fan regularly. While off, dust and allergens accumulated onto the fan’s blades and get caught in the grates of the cover. Then, when the fan gets turned on, those harmful particles get spewed throughout the room and into the occupant’s respiratory system.
Fans can also have a negative effect on the body’s muscles. “Exposing yourself to the air from an electric fan for a long time can affect your body’s heat-regulating mechanism and cause health problems,” says Osamu Nishizaki, physician and director of Nishizaki Clinic in Chuo Ward, Tokyo.
He claims that sweat evaporating off the skin lowers the skin’s surface temperature. That slows blood circulation; which then results in the lowering of the body’s internal organs temperature. This culminates in muscle and or overall body fatigue and loss of appetite. He suggests that it is best to avoid direct contact with the circulating air and point the fan towards a wall or the ceiling. This will allow the fan to cool the room but not interfere negatively with the body.
So, as you can see, sleeping with a fan on all night long has potentially more drawbacks than benefits. Compound that with other potential sleep disorders and you won’t be getting the rest you need. Therefore, if white noise is what you are after to ensure a good night sleep, it is better to purchase a sound machine than to have a fan potentially wreak havoc over your sinuses, muscles and organs. And, if you are looking to keep your bedroom cool and don’t have AC, get a fan with a timer so it is not on all night and point it away from it blowing directly on you.
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