Sleeping with a fan on has long been a controversial choice. Many claim the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Listening to the sound of a fan blowing can be a very peaceful way to encourage a restful night’s sleep. It can even become addicting over time. However, there are reasons why you shouldn’t sleep with a fan on.
It should be noted that certain health conditions have been created and, in some situations, are even made worse by running a fan at night. Things like allergen irritation, excessive mucus production, dry eyes and headaches are some of the more common side effects experienced by many.
You’re probably wondering, if it’s so bad for you, then why sleep with a fan on at all? Below is a breakdown of the pros and cons of sleeping with a fan to better help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
Is It Bad to Sleep with a Fan Blowing on You?
Using cooling fans in bedrooms is nothing new. And sleeping with a fan on isn’t bad for you. Those who suffer from allergies are more prone to things such as headaches and nasal irritation though if they do choose to sleep with a fan running. Fans can trigger the following health issues:
- Allergies – Fans stir up dust, pollen, spores, and dust mites
- Congestion – The dry air caused by the fan can also dry out one’s nose and throat
- Dry Eyes and Skin – Primarily an issue for those who sleep with their eyes open or a direct blast of constant air will cause the skin to dry out overnight
- Muscle Aches – Muscle contractions happen when cold air is circulating the body. Those suffering from pre-existing conditions may find themselves waking up sore in the morning because of it
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Downsides of Sleeping with a Fan On
There are a few drawbacks to running a fan at bedtime. Some of them include:
- Noise – People who love this sound never notice it but those who don’t find the mechanical sound jarring. Therefore, it is important to choose a quiet fan if you are sensitive to the sounds at night.
- Asthma – Running fans can aggravate asthma and even in some cases cause attacks
- Creates Dry Air – This can be counteracted using a humidifier
- Sore Muscles – Concentrated gusts of wind from a fan can cause muscles in the body to tense up and cramp leaving one sore and stiff in the morning
Therefore, it is important to choose a high-quality and effective cooling fan to minimize the potential negative effects. This is even more important if you consider the following benefits that fans can bring you.
Benefits of Sleeping with a Fan On
There are many benefits to sleeping with a fan on. These include but are not limited to:
- Inspires Comfort – Sometimes hearing the even buzz of a fan can calm the nerves and help the body to relax when it’s bedtime
- Improves Air Circulation – Reduces stuffy air and creates an encouraging sleep environment for which to sleep
- Reduces the Electric Bill – Electric fans are cheaper to run than air conditioning. In hotter weather, like in summer, the compressor in the air conditioning unit runs hotter to keep the area inside cooler.
- Helps Reduce SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) – When air sits stagnant the temperatures run warmer and carbon dioxide levels higher. Running a cooling fan decreases the concentration of carbon dioxide and therefore helps reduce SIDS.
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Can You Get Sick From Sleeping with a Fan On?
Fans themselves will not make you sick unless you already have a pre-existing health condition. In that case, it can actually worsen your symptoms. If you do get sick (say from all that repeated nasal drainage), you also run the risk of giving your loved one the illness too if you happen to share a bed.
Can Sleeping with a Fan On Cause Headaches?
Sleeping with a fan on can cause headaches. This is because it can cause nasal congestion due to the excessive dryness it creates. The tremendous amount of dry air triggers an overproduction of mucus. The large amount of mucus is responsible for sinusitis, stuffed up nasal passages and headaches.
Minimizing the Negative Effects of Sleeping with the Fan On
To combat the negative effects of sleeping with a fan on, you can implement the following:
- Use Air Filters – Reduces allergens in the air
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- Set a Timer – Fall asleep peacefully and then the fan will automatically turn itself off after an hour or two
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- Use a Rotating Fan Over a Stationary One – Rotating fans will help by breaking up the constant flow of air and prevent things like a stiff neck or muscle aches and pain
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- Maintain Distance from the Fan – Maintain a distance of at least two to three feet away so that you feel a light breeze instead of a burst of intense air directly on your body.
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Other Ways to Sleep Cooler
There are many different ways to sleep cooler and more comfortably at bedtime.
1. Install Light Colored Curtains
Putting up lighter curtains can help because the lighter colored fabrics reflect heat and light.
2. Take a Hot Shower Before Bed
Another thing to consider is showering before bed. Hot shower water will cause your natural body temperature to rise but when you exit the tube, it will decrease to cool yourself down thus helping you to fall asleep faster.
3. Switch to Memory Foam with Cooling Gel
Certain pillows now are built with a cooling gel so you can literally find the cool side of your pillow each night. The cool sensation will ease muscle tension. Latex foam is also another option that offers heat-wicking properties as well.
Is It Safe to Sleep with Windows Open at Night?
The question of whether or not to sleep with the windows open at night is not only a personal preference but also one pertaining to personal safety as well. Leaving a window open in the country would probably be safer than say the bottom apartment in a crowded city. This isn’t meant to mean all cities are crime-ridden or all homes in the country are safe.
As a general rule of thumb, the more populated the area, the more crime. If you are unsure of whether or not to leave the window open at night, you can always open it a crack, enough to let some fresh air in but not enough to allow a stranger to break inside.
Do Fans Trigger Cough?
Fans can actually trigger coughing. This is in part because they stir up the allergens in the air and dry out the throat at the same time. If you have other health issues, such as diabetes, the body is already chronically dehydrated which makes these symptoms much worse. A throat that is already dry will feel itchy and that in turn will trigger more coughing as the itchiness is an irritant.
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Silence can be deafening. Powerful fans are a wonderful sound to sleep to at night. The light breeze they provide can entice even the most stubborn individual to fall asleep effortlessly. However, if there is a pre-existing health condition that might be made worse by the use of one, it might be best to search for an ambient noise machine to listen to instead.
Fans won’t hurt most people, but choosing to run one will most likely exaggerate health issues that are already present. Someone with diabetes may choose to run a fan directly on them even at the expense of waking up with split fingers in the wintertime. Others still may have say arthritis, might find the sound of a fan so peaceful they don’t mind waking up with a stiff neck.
Therefore, the decision of whether or not to sleep with a fan on falls to that of a more personal choice rather than a health-related one.
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