How Does Indoor Air Quality Impact Sleep?

A tired day calls for a good night’s sleep. However, sleeping in the comfort of your cozy bed sounds too tempting. Does the bed, warm quilt, fluffy pillow put you down for deep sleep? For a healthy adult, 13-23% of the sleep is deep sleep, roughly 60-110 minutes per 8 hours. With the drop in the air quality, can you have a calming sleep that helps your body recover? The answer is no. Unless you live a lonely life at the peak of a mountain all by yourself, you can be assured that your body is not recovering as well as it should. 

Can indoor air quality affect sleep?

The air quality has a direct impact on your sleep. Many people boast of sleeping in the nosiest or well-lit rooms without drawing their curtains, but none can boast of having a quality sleep with poor air quality. Poor air quality inside your home can impact not just your sleep but overall health as well. The rising pollution level outdoors has been the talk of many developed countries for some years now. This has further degraded the air within the homes as well. 


How does air quality impact sleep?

Air quality impacts the breathing pattern and alleviates allergy symptoms. A few common factors that affect the air quality are the allergens like pet dander, dust, dust mites in the beds. These things can interrupt deep sleep and cause breathing issues that will not let the body rest and recover appropriately. Humidity in the air also has a huge impact on sleep. Too much or too little moisture indoors can greatly determine your sleep quality. Too humid rooms will increase the indoor temperature and make the room warm, while dry air can cause dry nasal passages and itchy skin. Both of these is not an ideal situation to rest in. 

How Does Indoor Air Quality Impact Sleep?


Why is indoor air quality worse at night?

The polluting factors outside the house do not just determine air quality. Various daily activities in the house can also cause air quality to drop. For example, tobacco smoke, car exhaust, and oil/gas combustion can impact indoor air quality. While one may think that the pollution at night drops and hence the air quality should improve, it is actually the opposite. This is because as the temperature drops, CO2 emissions, car emissions, and various other pollutants start getting trapped in the atmosphere. If the house is not properly ventilated, the trapped pollutants stay within your home and affect the quality of your sleep. 


How can pollutants impact sleep quality?

A bedroom with a comfortable temperature and a slight breeze from a window or a fan is the ideal place to sleep. A room that’s stuffed and has no ventilation isn’t a place to recover. The warmer a room gets, it makes you feel uncomfortable. If all windows and doors of the room are shut, the CO2 exhaled is trapped in the same room while one is sleeping. It can lead to a rise in CO2 levels, three times more than recommended. Overnight exposure to CO2 leads to low sleep efficiency, further impacting the smooth cognitive function on the next day. 


Can particle pollution disrupt sleep?

Particle pollution, called PM2.5, is tiny droplets or particles in the air that are small enough to enter your body through the nose and reach the lungs. These particles have a width of 2.5microns and are considered dangerous than larger pollution particles. These cause harm to the lungs and can also enter the bloodstream. Common symptoms include coughing, runny nose, sneezing, breathing problems, and much more. In addition, too much exposure to PM2.5 can cause restless or disrupted sleep. Sleeplessness is also considered an effect of particle pollutant exposure.

Air pollution also causes a sleeping disorder called “Sleep apnea.” With this disorder, one’s breathing is impacted while sleeping. The breathing stops and continuously starts while sleeping, thus impacting an uninterrupted sleep. This leads to fatigue during the day, irritability, and drowsiness in the long term. 

How Does Indoor Air Quality Impact Sleep?


What can you do to increase indoor air quality while you sleep?

As mentioned before, ventilation is one of the best options to improve the air quality for sleeping. Continuous in and out of the air will ensure that the air quality is better inside while sleeping. A running fan or an open window will also help check the CO2 levels inside. However, if the pollution outside is higher, this may not be a better solution. In such a case, opening doors of the room to ensure the flow of air between rooms is a better option. 

However, an air purifier is the best bet in such a scenario. Having an air purifier right where you sleep will give you clean air and decrease exposure to all night-time air pollution particles. 


Final Word

You can ensure a good night’s sleep by regularly cleaning the bedding, following common hygiene practices, removing clutter from the room, and keeping dust and allergens out of the bedroom. Since the bedroom is the most-used place in the house as one spends close to half the day, it is essential to keep the room clean. Maintaining a good indoor air quality index is not as difficult as it may seem and is also extremely essential when one aims to have a quality sleep cycle every day. Improving the air quality while you sleep will make sure you wake up refreshed and rested every day and give you a healthy life ahead.

Marija Petkoska
Marija joined IndoorBreathing in 2021; she is a passionate writer and editor. She brought fresh ideas for the blog, providing the best information on water quality - analysis, reviews, and more. Her passion is helping people to get clean and safe water. She also reviews the latest innovations in the indoor air industry.

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