There are a few non-negotiables in life — things human beingsmusthave in order to survive. Namely, there’s food, water, and sleep. Ironically, most humans are chronically dehydrated, the standard American diet is nothing to write home about, and we are perpetually exhausted. In this blog, we’re focusing on sleep and its relationship to something that affects you every second of every day: air quality. We’ll also offer a few sleep “hacks” to help improve the quality of your slumber.
How are Air Quality and Sleep Related?
There are several direct and indirect ways — many of which overlap — that air quality can affect your sleep quality.
Allergens and Sleep Quality
This can then impair your breathing, which carries into your sleep. Since your breathing is compromised, you might have a hard time falling or staying asleep.
If you have sleep apnea, it could worsen due to the allergens in your home and how your body is responding to them.
If yourallergies leave you with congestion, the feeling of not being able to breathe will likely only get worse when you lie down. This happens because when you lie down, mucus builds up in your sinuses. On the flip side, when you’re sitting or standing, gravity assists in helping the mucus drain from your sinuses.
Long-Term Damage to the Respiratory Tract
It goes further than your nose and sinuses, though. These particles might also trigger asthma, bronchitis, and otherissues with your lungs. If these issues are not addressed, over the long run, they can lead to permanent damage.
Other Disruptions to Your Sleep
Lastly, think of the ripple effect that congestion and dryness can have. Alongside these nagging issues, you might also be dealing with sneezing, coughing,wheezing, and choking — again, all of which might get worse when you lay down.
Needless to say, these hurdles will make it a lot harder to get the sleep you need.
It’s More Than Frustrating — It’s Debilitating
Sleep, burnout, and the mental and physical stress that ensues are no joke. Onesurvey found that 89% of Americans experienced burnout in the last year. Symptoms included physical fatigue (44%),cognitive weariness (36%), and emotional exhaustion (32%), among others.
Research has connected fatigue with physical and mental illness. Otherstudies have established a relationship between a lack of sleep and reduced cognition, accidents, reproductive problems, chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues, and even some forms of cancer.
So, imagine being exhausted and trying to get through the day — going to work or school, looking after your children, paying the bills, trying to squeeze in your workout — all while feeling completely depleted of energy and motivation.
This is why this entire conversation goes so far beyond, “I’m tired!” If the air quality in your home is hurting your sleep, youhaveto address it immediately.
How to Improve Air Quality for Better Sleep
You now have an idea why it’s so important — nay, vital — to address the quality of the air around you. But how? Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Create a Cleaning Schedule
We know, we know. How the heck are you supposed to find time to clean more than you already are? Let’s talk about how you can do thisefficiently!
- Focus on high-touch and high-traffic areas, like the kitchen and bedrooms. Vacuum weekly, especiallyif you have pets. (More on pets in a minute.) Keep cleaning products and rags/paper towels within reach so you can easily wipe down and disinfect countertops, toilets, the coffeemaker, and whatever else you’re using daily. Just be sure you usenon-toxic cleaning products.
- If you have pets, designate a specific area in your home to de-shed them. Immediately after, vacuum that area to prevent the fur and dander from spreading. (This also means you have to clean less overall!) Try to keep them off of furniture you frequently use, like the couch and beds.
- Have a spare set of sheets and pillowcases, because it’s important to change them out weekly. Dust mites, hair, dander, and other particles love to nestle into your dark, warm bedsheets. With a spare set, you won’t have to do laundry as frequently.
Psst! Check out our blog ondaily habits to keep your house clean.
Be Mindful of Your Cooking
If you cook a lot, you might be releasing sleep-disrupting particles into the air. For instance,gas stoves emit nitrogen dioxide,carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and particulate matter. Even when they’re not in use, they can release methane. It can make matters worse if, when you’re cooking, there’s a lot of smoke.
While you can’t completely avoid creating these particles, pay attention to how much heat you’re using to cook and if it’s creating unnecessary smoke. If the kitchen is getting smokey, crack a couple of windows to improve the ventilation. Or, set your HVAC system so that air is circulated from outside to indoors and vice versa.
Embrace the Technology of Air Purification
Where humans exit, technology enters. An air purification system can target those invisible particles that are nonetheless impairing your breathing and thus, impacting your sleep.
Let’s talk about what you should look for in an air purifier.
- Amedical-grade HEPA 13 filter, which is the most powerful type
- Multiple layers of filtration, including an activated carbon filter and UV-C light
- A replaceable — not washable — filter
- Real-time updates and notifications about the air quality and when to replace the filter
- Minimal noise pollution
- An auto setting so it can run as needed
- Widespread coverage of your home
Improving the air quality to get more sleep is a two-pronged approach. With some lifestyle changes and adjustments to your habits, you can have a direct impact on the purity of the air you breathe.
And indirectly, you can use technology to support you in filling your home with clean, fresh, healthy air to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Clean strategically, be careful how you cook, andbuy an air purifier for optimal results.