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Do Air Purifiers Improve Sleep In The Bedroom? Expert View

Sleep-deprived, yet can't figure out why? It could be the air quality in your room. An air purifier can help your sleep better, so you will wake up happier and completely refreshed the next day. However, should you sleep with an air purifier on all night? Is it safe to do so, especially for an asthmatic or hypersensitive person? Wonder no more, as we have done our comprehensive research. Let's begin.

 

Air purifiers are home appliances that move and filter the air. The internal fan will pull dirty particulates into its multi-layer filtration and release only purified air back into the room. It begins with the first-stage pre-filter that traps large particles like dust, dirt, and hair. Next, the true HEPA filter removes 99.97% of microscopic particles in the air as small as 0.3 microns, including pollen, mold spore, mildew, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses. The activated carbon filter absorbs toxins, smoke, and odors. The cleaning cycle will continue as long as the air cleaner is still running.

Do I Need An Air Purifier To Sleep Better?

Yes, you do. An air purifier will improve indoor air quality and promos better sleep by removing airborne irritants. By continuously supplying cleaner air in the sleep breathing zone, it reduces allergy symptoms like skin irritation, watery eyes, stuffy nose, chronic sneezing, sinus, itchiness, headache, shortness of breath, and choking cough that causes you to stay awake at night. For those with hypersensitivity, asthma, and cardiovascular diseases, air purifiers lower the exposure to allergens during sleep, thus decreasing the risk of bronchial inflammation and allowing the lungs to function at full capacity. You will sleep faster, be able to reach good REM, deep sleep, and wake up completely refreshed the next day.

Everyone could do with clean air, and an air purifier can certainly provide that. You don’t need to suffer from any health conditions to use an air purifier by your bedside. A clinical study by the National Library of Medicine in May 2019 found tremendous improvements in participants’ sleep and quality of life with improved clean air.

Little do we know that fresh air can also cool down the room temperature and burn calories. An air cleaner circulates fresh air and prevents it from stagnating, which would otherwise deprive us of sleep. For those who stay in a hot climate area and have to go through the toss-and-turning phase every night, consider getting an air purifier with a fan combo that cools and cleans the air simultaneously.

Air purifiers improve sleep

[PROS] The Benefits Of Using An Air Purifier During Sleep

We spent one-third of our time sleeping, averaging around eight hours a night and 960 breaths an hour. Having a working air purifier at the bedside is beneficial to our health physically and mentally. To further illustrate our point, here are the pros of a bedroom air purifier:

  • A higher-quality sleep – An air purifier can help you achieve the next level of sleep quality with ample REM and deep sleep. Without all the nasty colds, coughs, and headaches causing countless sleepless nights, your body and mind will be able to recharge fully. Protein production will increase to aid healing, and you will wake up completely refreshed the next day. Adequate rest may also help reduce the risk of weight gain, inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illnesses.
  • Great for an asthmatic or hypersensitive person – An air purifier reduces exposure to allergens, alleviating symptoms like night cough, nasal congestion, sinus headaches, watery eyes, itchiness, and chronic sneezing.
  • Removes lingering smoke, toxic fumes, and odors – Air purifiers are excellent when living in a tiny apartment close to a factory, highway, or restaurant with poor ventilation. Smoke particles are toxic, nauseating, and disruptive to your sleep.
  • Reduce snoring – An air purifier captures airborne allergens that trigger your sinusitis and breathing troubles. Without a congested nose, you will unlikely to breathe through the mouth and annoys your sleeping partner.
  • Generate pink/ white noise – Some air purifiers like Alen BreatheSmart produce calming and soothing pink ambient noise that helps you sleep. The consistent white/ pink noise frequency resembles to wind rustlings through trees or ocean waves. The white noise generated also drowns out external noise e.g. TV from the living room, neighbor, or highway. Perfect as relaxing lullabies for babies or those that enjoy sleeping in a calming pitch.
  • Cultivate healthier, radiant skin – An air purifier can reduce itchiness, skin inflammation, and eczema triggered by contact with allergens. With cleaner air free from allergens, you will have less urge to scratch, and your skin can heal and rejuvenate.
  • A happier, healthier you – An air purifier that diffuses negative ions also boosts the production of biochemical reactions and increases the levels of mood chemical serotonin. Serotonin, AKA happiness hormone, will put us in a happier mood, alleviate depression, and relieves stress due to lack of sleep. So when you’re having a bad day, just turn on the air purifier and hit the sack.

[CONS] The Downsides Of Sleeping With An Air Purifier

Like all things in life, there are always up and down. Consider the cons before purchasing and placing an air purifier in the bedroom. While nothing below should be prioritized over your health and well-being, it is worth giving it food for thought.

  • Closed windows and doors – For an air purifier to be truly effective, it must be in an enclosed room with no chance of outdoor pollutants entering and clean air escaping. It is counterproductive for people who enjoy the daily cool, breeze air. According to EPA, indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outside.
  • Noise pollution – Some air purifiers generate a fair bit of white noise over 60 decibels that can disturb your sleep. If you are the type of person that can’t sleep well with background noise, pick a quieter air purifier, or earplugs will have to do the trick.
  • Another home appliance to maintain – Depending on the size, features, and technology, a bedroom air purifier will cost around 100 to 400 dollars. You will also have to replace the filters for about 100 to 200 dollars annually.
  • Surge in electricity bill – Set you back around 2 to 6 dollars monthly, depending on the unit’s power consumption and the state you reside. To overcome this, pick an energy-efficient model with Auto or Sleep mode e.g. Winix 5500-2, MinusA2. In auto mode, the air purifier will adjust the fan speed accordingly when a high volume of pollutants is detected to conserve energy and keep the noise level down. In Sleep mode, the air cleaner will maintain the fan speed to low and dim the indicator light to reduce glare at night.
  • Space occupying – Besides eating up some interior spaces on the nightstand, floor, or cabinet, there are a lot of restrictions with an air purifier placement. To prevent air ventilation obstruction, you must leave 2-4 feet of gaps between walls. You cannot place it underneath windows, damp areas, or close to electronic appliances like TV.
  • Skin itchiness and dryness – A minor but legit issue. Air purifiers moving air can cause moisture to evaporate faster and dry up your skin, especially when blowing directly at you. The simple solution is to point the air purifier away from your direction, do take extra caution if you have sensitive skin.

Benefits Of a Good Night Sleep

CNN reports that lack of sleep costs the US Economy over $63 Billion per year. Having a good 6-8 hours of quality sleep every night is vital to your health. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of exacerbating medical conditions and shortened lifespan. Without further ado, here are more benefits you will enjoy with a good night’s sleep.

  • Let your body heal – It will repair itself by producing more protein during sleep.
  • Prevent Cancer – By creating melatonin hormones known to suppress the growth of tumors.
  • Reduces Stress – Sleep deficiency can cause stress to mount up quickly.
  • Curb your cravings and lose weight – By controlling your hormones ghrelin and leptin level.
  • Reduces Inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol – All that by just sleeping.
  • Energetic and engaged – It makes you feel fresh and ready to take on the world.
  • Improves your focus and memory – Boosts your concentration level so your day will be more fruitful.
  • Napping makes you smarter – A short nap can make you feel sharper and brighter, according to a study consulted on 24,000 Greek adults.
  • Reduce the risk of depression – You will feel less depressed as your mind is less stressed.
  • Protects you from stroke and heart attack – Especially if a person has high blood pressure.

Do Air Purifiers Help With Sleep Apnea?

Having an air purifier in the bedroom can help with sleep apnea by capturing all the harmful allergens resulting in cleaner air. Research from the American Thoracic Society shows that sleep apnea is linked with prolonged exposure to air pollution. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person repeatedly stops breathing for 10 to 30 seconds in their sleep due to airway blockage. When you breathe comfortably throughout the night, you will snore less and enjoy better sleep quality with longer sleeping hours. You will unlikely suffer from grogginess, gasping for air, or waking up in the middle of the night with a HEPA air cleaner.

What Are The Causes of Sleep Problems?

Chronic sleep deprivation is correlated with many health issues. According to research, air pollution can increase poor sleep conditions by up to 60 percent. If you have trouble sleeping i.e. Chronic Idiopathic Insomnia, below are some known causes to look out for.

  • Physical - For example, headache, chronic pain, headaches, fibromyalgia
  • Medical - For instance, asthma
  • Psychiatric - For example, depression, anxiety disorders, stress
  • Environmental - Air pollution, bright street lights, outside noise, partner snoring, weather, dirty room
  • Genetics - For example, narcolepsy, a neurological disorder
  • Night shift - Working hours contrary to biological clocks
  • Medications - For example, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, cold medicine
  • Aging - Especially the elderly over the age of 65

What Are The Signs Of Sleep Deprivation?

If you sleep on time consistently yet still feel sleepy, restless, and tired the next day, you could be experiencing poor quality sleep due to allergies. Having insufficient sleep could cost you dearly in academic and career performance. You could be failing an exam, missing out on a deal of a lifetime, or a big promotion because you are constantly zoned out. Here are the symptoms to look out for:

  • Constant yawning
  • Moodiness/ easily irritated
  • Fatigue/ drowsiness
  • Clumsy
  • Depressed
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate/ inattentiveness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Increased in appetite

If the chronic lack of sleep remains unchanged, you could be facing health issues such as:

  • Exacerbating underlying conditions, such as asthma, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular
  • Congestive heart issues
  • Weight issues
  • Behavioral problems (particularly in children)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Mental health issues

What Type of Air Purifier Do You Need?

From a HEPA purifying machine, Odor eliminator, UVGI cleaner, PCO air cleaner, Ionizer to Electrostatic precipitation, many types of air purifiers can remove impurities in the air while you slumber. Knowing what contaminants lead to poor sleep can help you decide which air purifier to buy. If you have trouble with dust or non-gas particles, a filterless air cleaner will do just fine. If you live in a heavily polluted industrial area constantly exposed to unpleasant smoke and odors, you will need an air purifier with a carbon filter.

Ultimately, a HEPA air cleaner is always our recommended type. It is safe, supports multi-layer filtration, and can remove gas and non-gas particulates, including odors. Look for the following filtration:

  • Pre-filter - The first-stage filter blocks out large particles like dust and hair.
  • True Hepa Filter - Look for a model with a True HEPA filter rather than a HEPA-type filter.
  • Activated carbon filter - A must-have filter to remove strong fumes, smoke, and unpleasant odors.
  • Ionizer - Electronically charge particles in the air so they will fall for the air purifier to capture.
  • UV-light - Very effective in killing sleep disruptive bacteria and viruses.

Best Air Purifiers for Better Sleep

Air cleaners are non-invasive and can work with other treatments to improve night's sleep. Rather than going through hundreds of air cleaners currently on sale, we reviewed and compiled the best air purifiers for bedroom use. Here is our recommendation.

  • Winix 5500-2
  • Winix 5300-2
  • Honeywell HPA300
  • Coway AP-1512HH Mighty
  • Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-780A
  • Levoit LV-PUR131

Never lose sleep at home. For a more in-depth review, click here to find out why we pick these 7 best air purifiers for your bedroom.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt an air cleaner can contribute to wonderful sleep in many ways. However, it is nothing without a proper sleeping environment and patterns. Let's refine your sleep routine and promote healthy as such:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule (be realistic about the timing).
  • Reduce nap time if you have trouble sleeping at night.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid eating right before sleep.
  • Stop scrolling mindlessly on social media. Leave your phone away from the bedside.
  • Practice meditation or read a book to relax your mind.
  • Keep the room cool between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Off all lights or replace them with warm lights. Use eyeshade if needed.
  • If you are sensitive to noise like snoring, use ear plugs.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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