Residents of heavily polluted areas are 60% more likely to have trouble sleeping, than those who live in cleaner neighborhoods. Evidence from scientific studies shows that air pollutants including particulate matter and gaseous components such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone can have a detrimental effect on sleep quality.
According to the EPA, levels of indoor air pollutants can be up to 5 times higher than those outside, and when the temperature drops at night, even more pollutants can be trapped in the atmosphere inside the home. As well as outdoor pollutants, other allergens, and high levels of humidity in your bedroom’s atmosphere can affect the quality of sleep, so when designing the perfect sleeping environment, improving air quality should be a priority.
Regulating Humidity Levels
High humidity levels in the bedroom can make you uncomfortable in bed causing increased wakefulness and reducing the amount of time you spend in REM phases of sleep. In addition, a humidity higher than 40 percent in winter in cold climates like Alaska’s can create condensation and lead to the growth of mold. Mold spores in the atmosphere can provoke asthma attacks, and exposure to toxic mold can cause a range of long-term effects including insomnia.
Ventilation can improve the air quality in your bedroom by providing fresh air and removing pollutants from the atmosphere. A well-designed system will also help to regulate humidity levels, reducing the risk of condensation and mold.
Removing Allergens From Your Bedroom
Bedrooms tend to have high amounts of allergens which can aggravate asthma and allergies, and affect how well you sleep. While good ventilation will help to minimize dampness and mold, if you are affected by hay fever, keeping windows and doors closed during the summer season will prevent pollen from getting inside. Other allergens from house dust, mold spores, and pet dander can be controlled by keeping your bedroom surfaces clean and clear, and by regularly vacuuming both your carpet and mattress to control dust mites.
Minimizing the Adverse Effects of Pollution
While research on the effect of pollution on sleep has largely been focused on sleep-disordered breathing and sleep apnea, one study found an association between increasing levels of pollution in the atmosphere and a general reduction in the quality and duration of sleep. Individual pollutants including ozone and PM10, fine particulate matter found in smoke, dust, and exhaust fumes can be trapped in your home’s atmosphere, especially at night as the temperature drops.
These particulates can then be inhaled into the lungs and cause a number of health conditions. Good ventilation and air movement created by opening doors and windows will help to dilute pollutants in your bedroom. In the winter when this is no longer practical, air purifiers can be very effective at trapping particles and reducing the number of pollutants in the atmosphere.
Pollutants and allergens in the air can have a detrimental effect on sleep. Balancing humidity levels can prevent mold spores, while improving ventilation will help to dilute the number of pollutants in the atmosphere, leading to a better night’s sleep.
So many elements can affect your sleep quality. If you think your sleep problem is a chronic one that hasn't been helped with little changes, you may have a sleep disorder. Call the Alaska Sleep Clinic today to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists.