October 2, 2017
According to the National Sleep Foundation, over ⅓ of Americans feel they aren’t getting the quality of sleep they need for a good night’s rest. Sleep plays such an important role in our overall mental and physical health, so why is it something so many of us struggle with?
It might not necessarily be your fault--it could be your air.
This is less ambiguous than it sounds. When we heard about the National Sleep Foundation’s statistic, we decided to do some investigating with the help of Awair--a device that tracks toxins and chemicals in your indoor air, then gives you personalized recommendations to help you stay safe and healthy. At Awair, we’re fascinated by the way air affects our daily lives, so we looked through our database to see if we could learn anything from Awairs around the U.S.--specifically, those used in bedrooms. *
Taking a look at the average overnight score (what we’ve dubbed as “Sleep Score”) for Awairs used in bedrooms…
...it seems that over ⅓ of Americans are sleeping in air that is considered unhealthy for a good night’s rest.
It’s a coincidence we can’t ignore.
While everyone has their preferences for how they like to sleep--extra cold, slightly warm, and so on--research has shown us there are a few factors that can negatively impact your quality of sleep. These factors happen to be directly related to your indoor air quality.
Many of us take for granted that the air we’re breathing is healthy, safe, and won’t have much effect on us since it’s not something we can typically see–but this isn’t the case, especially for air that’s indoors. In fact, indoor air can be 5x more polluted than outdoors, which can affect allergies, asthma, productivity, and more–even our quality of sleep.
How exactly can the air in your bedroom disrupt your sleep? While there is still much more to be learned about what it takes to have a good night’s sleep, there are two specific air quality factors that we know--through the help of numerous research studies--affect your sleep quality throughout the night:
Have you ever found it impossible to fall asleep in a room that felt too hot? This wasn’t just because you were uncomfortable--it also has to do with your body.
When we’re trying to fall asleep, our brain will try to lower our overall body temperature, and this slight drop in temperature helps induce sleep. However, if the air in our room is too hot or too cold, we’ll have a difficult time achieving the right body temperature for a healthy night’s sleep, causing us to have a restless night.
Research tells us that the best room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Outdoor temperatures typically drop throughout the night, which can affect your temperature inside, as well. If you’re worried about the temperature in your bedroom overnight, setting a thermostat within the preferred range can help you have a better night’s sleep.
Carbon dioxide is an unavoidable ingredient in the cocktail of gasses (and chemicals) that make up the air we breathe. This is because each person exhales about 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide every day. While carbon dioxide isn’t toxic in small quantities, too much carbon dioxide can have a negative impact on your quality of sleep.
Studies have shown that people who sleep in rooms with a high amount of carbon dioxide in their air have disrupted REM cycles--the state of deep sleep, when you start to dream. Too much carbon dioxide is also known to cause drowsiness, which makes waking up in a CO2-filled room will be difficult and leave you feeling groggy.
To keep the levels of CO2 in your room at bay, try to sleep with your bedroom door open to let in fresh air. Certain plants, like the Snake Plant (pictured above), work overnight to give you fresh air, as well.
Understanding how the air in your bedroom affects your quality of sleep can help you have healthier and more restful nights. Of course, it isn’t easy to keep track of your air and sleep at the same time, which is why an indoor air quality monitor, like Awair, can help.
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