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Do Air Purifiers Improve Sleep In The Bedroom? Expert View

Sleep-deprived, yet can't figure out why? Maybe it's the air quality in your room hampering your sleep condition. 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? Which type of air cleaner would be best suited for the job? Wonder no more, as we have done our comprehensive research. Let's begin.
Short answer
Air purifier improves sleep quality. Leave it on.

 

Will An Air Purifier Help You Sleep Better?

An air purifier will improve sleep quality by removing 99.97% of the irritants in the air, as small as 0.3 microns. With cleaner air, allergy symptoms like stuffy nose, chronic sneezing, sinus, itchiness, headache, shortness of breath, or choking cough will unlikely trigger and causes you to stay awake at night. You will sleep faster, be able to reach deep sleep, and wake up completely refreshed the next day.

Air purifiers are devices that move and filter the air from dust, pollen, smoke, odor, mold spore, mildew, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses. The internal fan will pull dirty particles into the filtration consisting of a pre-filter, HEPA, and activated carbon filter. The multi-layer filters trap the microscopic particles from passing through, releasing only purified air back into the room. The cleaning cycle will continue as long as the air purifier is still running.

Air purifiers can also produce white noise for those that enjoy sleeping with a soothing background sound. The equal frequencies wavelengths act as calming ambient sounds or relaxing lullabies for the baby. The white noise generated from the air cleaner’s fan can also drown out external noise e.g. TV from the living room, neighbor, or highway. According to one study, air cleaners like Alen BreatheSmart produce a lower soothing tempo pink noise that is scientifically better than white noise by 25%.

Little do we know that fresh air can also cool down the room temperature and burn calories. An air cleaner circulates clean air and prevents air from being stagnant, which would otherwise deprive us of sleep. For those who stay in a hot climate area, consider getting an air purifier with a fan combo that cools and cleans the air simultaneously.

Air purifiers improve sleep

Should You Sleep With An Air Purifier On?

Yes, you should leave the air purifier on all night to deal with the constantly shifting air quality. An air purifier promotes better breathing and sleeps quality during bedtime by continuously cleaning the air. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends sleeping with an air purifier on for a comfortable and healthy environment.

An air purifier should be running all the time, regardless of whether you are asleep or awake. When an air purifier is turned off, it will stop filtering nearby air, allowing indoor pollutants like formaldehyde, VOCs, radon, CO, CO2 to flow in from cracks, windows, doors, or floor. In no time, the indoor air will return as dirty as before. The air purifier will have to restart the purification for at least a couple of hours to clean the air. We will be at risk of exposure to airborne contaminants without realizing it during the process.

Case and point, we place an air purifier in an enclosed bedroom and switch it off after 3 hours of runtime. During our three-day tests, the indoor air reverted from a healthy state to an unhealthy level as quickly as 60 minutes after the air purifier was turned off. This clearly indicates how polluted indoor air can be in a less-than-ideal environment.

Is It Safe To Sleep With An Air Purifier?

It is perfectly safe to sleep with an air purifier on. It is designed to run day and night without fail. A filter-based, mechanical HEPA air purifier does not generate ozone or harmful byproducts. For better peace of mind, go with air purifiers that are CE, UL listed, CARB compliant, and AHAM approved model. Never purchase an ozone generator for the bedroom. It is a dangerous device that emits harmful ozone, which causes breathing difficulty, exacerbates asthma and other respiratory diseases.

[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. If snoring has nothing to do with bad air, there’s nothing an air cleaner can do.
  • Promotes better sleep through pink noise – Some air purifiers are known to generate consistent frequency pink noise, similar to wind rustlings through trees or ocean waves. It is perfect for those that fall asleep faster and longer 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 will be able to 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 With Sleeping Next To 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 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 developing serious medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and shortened lifespan. Without further ado, here are more benefits you will enjoy with a good night’s sleep.

  • Let your body heal – Your body 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 linked to 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 of the 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 light, 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 and tired the next day, you could be experiencing poor quality sleep due to allergies. Having insufficient sleep could cost you dearly on 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
Should I sleep With An Air Purifier On?

Should You Sleep With An Air Purifier On?

Yes, you should. Air pollution doesn’t stop when we sleep. An air purifier promotes better breathing and sleeps quality during bedtime by continuously cleaning the air. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends sleeping with an air purifier on for a comfortable and healthy environment.

Air purifiers is essentially a device that moves and filter air. It removes allergens in the air, such as dust, pollen, smoke, mold, mildew, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses. The internal fan will pull dirty particles into the filtration, typically a pre-filter, HEPA, and activated carbon filter. The multiple filters will trap all the microscopic particles that pass through, leaving only purified air back into the room. The cleaning cycle will continue as long as the air purifier is still running.

Why Is It Important To Turn On An Air Purifier During Sleep?

An air purifier should be running all the time, regardless of whether you are asleep or awake. When an air purifier is turned off, it will stop filtering nearby air. As a result, airborne pollutants like formaldehyde, VOCs, radon, CO, CO2 will flow in from cracks, windows gaps, doors, ground and start building up overnight. In no time, the indoor air will return as dirty as before. The air purifier will have to restart the entire purification progress at max speed for a few hours. You will be at risk of inhaling airborne pollutants, triggering allergies like cough, headache, sinus, itchiness, and causing all kinds of health problems.

Case and point, we place an air purifier in an enclosed bedroom and switch it off after 3 hours of runtime. During our three days tests, the indoor air reverted from a healthy state to an unhealthy level as quickly as 60 minutes after the air purifier was turned off. This is a clear indication of how polluted indoor air can be when it is in a less-than-ideal environment.

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. That said, knowing what kind of 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 any other treatment to improve night's sleep. Rather than going through hundreds of air cleaners currently on sale, we reviewed and compiled the 6 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.

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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