Do You Sleep With A Fan On? Read To Know What The Pros And Cons Are

Amritha K

Sleeping seems to be the ultimate answer to most of your problems - be it physical or mental. The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, heart health, weight and many more [1][2].

One of the major factors that contribute towards a good sleep or promote better sleep quality is the environment you sleep in. Yes, the bed, room temperature, things in the room etc. do play a role in deciding the sleep quality.

Is Sleeping In A Cold Room Really Good For Your Health?

And today, we will look into the link between sleeping with a fan on and your sleep quality. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of us sleep with a fan on. Yes an A/C may do the job well, but our good fan let's one rest without having the worry of producing carbon emissions, unlike using an air-conditioner [3].

So, do you sleep with a fan on? The article will explore all the possible upsides, downsides and the ways to minimise the downsides of sleeping with a fan on.

What Are The Pros Of Sleeping With A Fan On?

Now that the summer season is upon us, with some rain here and there, sleeping without a fan at night is impossible.

Promotes air circulation: Sleeping with the windows open aids air circulation in the room and switching on a fan can help promote the air circulation in the room. Even with the windows closed, switching on the fan is the best idea for consistent air circulation throughout the night [4].

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Maintains comfort: I don't think it's uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night, sweating, especially during the summer season. Sleeping with a fan on can help avoid drowsiness during daytime which can affect your productivity; this is because even if you sweat while sleeping, the breeze from the fan will dry the excess moisture (due to sweating), keeping you cool and comfortable while you sleep [5].

Link with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a healthy baby (less than a year old)[6]. Studies link some of the major causes of SIDS with high temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels in the room [7][8].

Keeping a fan on in the room where the infant sleeps can help reduce the risk of SIDS because the circulation of air lowers room temperature and decreases the risk of possible carbon dioxide concentration in the room.

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Though not a health benefit, one of the other benefits of using a fan is that it helps cut down on your electricity bill when compared to that of the use of an AC.

What Are The Cons Of Sleeping With A Fan On?

We love the cooling and comfortable breeze of a fan, but, did you know constant blowing of air could dry you out?

Dries skin and eyes: Studies point out that sleeping with a fan on (mostly in high speed) can cause dry eyes, especially for people who wear contact lens, as well as in people who sleep with their eyes mildly open [9]. In addition to these, the constant blow of air may cause dry skin and irritation [10][11].

Causes congestion: Sleeping with the fan on high speed can cause dryness in your nose and throat, which in turn can trigger the overproduction of mucus, causing sinusitis, headaches, and a stuffy nose [12][13][14].

Triggers allergies: The wind from the fan can circulate dust, spores, and other allergens in the room, which you will inhale, triggering allergies such as excessive sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy nose, itchy throat, and may cause breathing difficulties [15].

It can also alleviate the symptoms in people with conditions such as asthma.

Side Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

May worsen muscle ache: If you are sleeping too close to the fan, the cold air can cause muscle contractions and for people with muscle pain, this can worsen the pain [16]. The concentrated flow of cool air makes muscles tense up and cramp.

Ways To Minimise The Cons Of Sleeping With A Fan On

As it is not practical to stop using the fan or switching to an AC, let us explore the ways to minimize its negative effects.

  • If it is a pedestal fan, keep it at a distance from you to prevent nasal congestion, headaches, muscle aches, and eye dryness.
  • Use a rotating fan.
  • Set a timer, so that it turns off an hour or a couple of hours after your bedtime.
  • Use air filters in the room to reduce the circulation of dust-mites, spores, and other allergens, especially if you are prone to allergies [17].
  • Use the fan at a minimum speed.

Which Is The Best Time To Sleep And Wakeup?

Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep

Apart from the above, some of these tips can help promote a good night's sleep [18].

  • Get enough natural light, especially earlier in the day.
  • Take a shower before bed.
  • Use light-coloured curtains in the bedroom.
  • Avoid exposure to artificial light, especially close to your bedtime.
  • Go to bed and rise at the same time every day, even at the weekend.
  • Get enough daily exercise and avoid exercising near bedtime.
  • Avoid eating and drinking, especially alcohol and high fat and sugar-rich foods in the hours before bedtime.

On A Final Note…

While sleeping with a fan on is good for the earth (no carbon emissions), make sure you keep the fan at a distance (if it is a pedestal fan) and keep the speed on minimum.

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