Sleep problems affect approximately one in three adults in America, and if you find that you are waking up tired, getting up frequently, or finding it hard to fall asleep, the problem could actually be mold.
One of the reasons that mold can keep you up at night is that it often causes allergy-like symptoms, including sneezing, congestion, dry and itchy skin, and even asthma. Enjoying a good night’s sleep often involves a delicate interplay of psychological, physiological and environmental factors.
For instance, proactive stress management strategies can help avoid the tossing and turning that come with worry, while optimal bedroom design can enhance sleep quality through optimal bed design and temperature. Priority should also be given, however, to inhabiting and sleeping in mold-free environments.
Not All Mold Is Alike
When considering your mold clean-up strategy, bear in mind that there are various types of mold that can live in a typical home. Some (such as Aspergillus) can produce mycotoxins that can be harmful to humans and pets alike.
Others (like Alternaria) contain spores that, when breathed in, are responsible for the typical symptoms that interfere with sleep, including itchy eyes, a runny nose, and congestion. These symptoms are not to be taken lightly, and not just because they can cause sleepless nights.
Another type of mold (black mold) can cause similar flu-like symptoms, yet be highly toxic to humans. Black mold is not common in most homes, as it needs very high humidity levels to thrive. However, if you live in a very humid area or there are visible signs of mold in your home, professional cleaning may be warranted.
The Psychological Effects Of Mold
Mental conditions like depression can cause sleeplessness. One study by researchers at Brown University found that there is a connection between moldy homes and depression.
The study was based on data obtained from over 5,8000 people in close to 3,000 households. Research had previously shown that because molds are toxic, they can affect many bodily systems - including the nervous and immune systems.
They can also affect brain function - particularly in terms of impulse control, problem-solving and socialization. The Brown study showed, however, that mold can also cause psychological issues, affecting mood and well-being.
The scientists themselves were surprised to find that living in a visibly damp, moldy household upped the risk of depression by between 34% and 44%.
“Healthy homes can promote healthy lives,” stated scientists in the Brown study, adding that the state of a house can very much indicate the state of its inhabitants’ mental health.
To be on the safe side, dwellers in humid areas can opt for mold inspections and testing to determine if problems like lack of insulation, leaks, HVAC issues, moldy soft furnishings and pillows, or even improper ventilation can be contributing to the build-up of mold.
Often, simply cleaning the home regularly with power jets outside and steam vacuum cleaners inside, can be enough to say goodbye to mold permanently and improve sleep quality for good.
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