We all struggle with sleeping sometimes. Whether you slip up on your sleep schedule or you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to bed, it is not uncommon to have issues with your sleep health.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to improve your sleep health thanks to lots of research. Some of the basics according to Dr. Breus, known as The Sleep Doctor, include:
- Consistent bedtime
- Consistent wake-up time
- Reduction in alcohol consumption
- Reduction coffee or caffeine consumption
- Regular exercise schedule
- Avoid large meals before bedtime
- Avoid smartphones and other electronics before bedtime
Beyond these basics, though, you might be surprised to learn there are other factors at play that negatively affect your sleep. Namely, the air quality in your surrounding environment.
Allergens and Irritants Disrupt Your Sleep
There are lots of respiratory irritants that make sleeping more difficult. Poor air quality has consequential effects even when you sleep. Airborne irritants cause conditions in your sleep such as nasal congestion, sneezing, fatigue, and even sleep-disordered breathing.
Some of these allergens that disrupt air quality are your typical household irritants: pollen, dust, mold, and pet hair. They also could include small floating fibers, cement or wood particles, smoke or smog, and insulating foam. In addition to these, your home also contains something called dust mites. These dust mites leave behind particles that may trigger allergies or cause you to have allergy-like symptoms.
Pesky Dust Mites Interfere With Your Sleep
The most dangerous part about these dust mites is that they can serve as host sites for pollutants from outside your home or toxic household chemicals from within. This makes them especially pesky in maintaining good air quality for sleep.
The mite particles are tiny and may even fragment into smaller bits while you are asleep. During your slumber, you may move around and stir the particles into motion. Floating through the air further decreases air quality and your sleep health, causing your body to negatively respond to these perceived toxins.
To cut back on allergens and irritants in the bedroom, you may want to try some of these tips:
- Remove outdoor clothing outside of the bedroom
- Sniff and inspect your bedroom to ensure there is no hidden mold
- Wash your sheets and pillows frequently
- Purchase a dust mite cover for your bed
- Vacuum your bedroom weekly
- Purchase an air purifier for your bedroom
Air Temperature and Sleep Health
Everybody has their own preferences when it comes to a comfortable sleeping temperature. You probably know someone who sleeps in a sauna-like heat. And on the other hand, you probably know someone who prefers to pile on the covers in an Arctic chill.
Sleep experts say that the sweet spot for a comfortable sleeping temperature is somewhere between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It is better to err on the cold side than the warm side, as you can always use additional covers or blankets to keep you warm.
If you are having difficulty sleeping due to heat, here are some simple fixes:
- Keep a cold glass of water on your bedside table
- Take a cold bath or shower before bedtime
- Place a wet cloth on your forehead and allow heat to leave through the head
Humidity, Air Quality, and Sleep Health
Along with temperature and air quality, your sleep health will also be impacted by humidity. The amount of water vapor in the air is correlated to the temperature. Hotter air can hold more moisture than cooler air.
This is important because it affects air quality and your health. Cold weather has the potential to dry out our sinuses and cause irritation. This irritation will lead to dryness in your mouth and nose that may disrupt your sleep health.
On the flip side, too much warmth and humidity can stimulate mold and dust mite growth. Mold and dust mites are linked with several respiratory diseases, like bronchitis and asthma. Troubled breathing will certainly lead to fewer hours of high quality sleep.
Essentially, either too much or too little humidity can cause illness and decrease your sleep quality. Keeping a balanced level in your bedroom is ideal for helping your body regulate itself. You may even decide to purchase a humidity monitor to see if you are at appropriate levels. If you are not, then you can purchase either a dehumidifier or humidifier depending on whether your environment needs more or less humidity.
Ventilation, Air Quality, and Sleep Health
Just as humidity and temperature can affect your sleep health, the level of ventilation in your bedroom plays a huge role in sleep quality. Ventilation is simply the amount of air movement in an environment. People frequently overlook this factor when evaluating their sleep. Oftentimes, people prefer closed doors and windows to achieve maximum silence and minimum light.
However, without sufficient ventilation, carbon dioxide build up is a likely occurrence. Carbon monoxide build up makes it harder to fall asleep and lessens your sleep quality. The lack of quality sleep makes you more susceptible to high carbon dioxide levels when you are awake causing headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms.
During your sleep period, it is possible that carbon dioxide levels will increase to 4 or 5 times their usual amount. Improved ventilation is one of the best ways to improve daily sleep health. How do you improve ventilation? Opening doors and windows, even if they do not open to outside, is the best way to improve ventilation.
If you are still feeling stuffy in your bedroom after opening windows and doors, then you may want to place a fan near a door. Fans are a foolproof way to improve circulation in your bedroom. You may want to invest in a carbon dioxide monitor if you feel that your room is stale every night when you go to bed.
Other Ways to Improve Sleep Health
Hopefully, we have made you more familiar with how air quality impacts your sleep environment and sleep health. Even more importantly, we hope that you will utilize some of these tips to improve your own sleep. Here are some final tips for achieving better sleep health:
- Customize your mattress firmness
- Customize your pillow firmness
- Decongest before bedtime
- Sleep with “white noise” or “pink noise” in the background
Lastly, remember that WYND products give you easily accessible information about the air quality in your environment. From measuring air quality data to purchasing air purification devices for your home, WYND has numerous solutions to improve air quality. And remember, improved air quality = improved sleep quality.If you have any questions about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at WYND Technologies.