As I was shutting the kid’s bedroom window last night because it was FREEZING in their room, I wondered if there were any health benefits in sleeping with an open window at night. I’ve always been told it’s good for you, and I certainly feel like I’m sleeping better when it’s not stuffy in the room, but waking up cold is also no fun! So I consulted my friend Google and had a look around! And guess what – various opinions on the matter! Of course!
A quite recent study suggests that sleeping with the window open gives you a better night’s sleep. This is because it allows for a better CO2 balance in the bedroom which, in turn, leads to better sleep quality. And we all know that a good night’s sleep has a drastic effect on our mood and motivation the following day.
The study, published in the journal Indoor Air, tracked the sleeping patterns of 17 students. To do so, scientists used motion sensors to monitor movement, measured CO2 levels and asked participants to keep a sleep diary. The results revealed that those who slept with the window open enjoyed a better quality night’s kip and didn’t toss and turn so much. Loads of papers jumped onto this study and reported it (in their own headline seeking way) but the study was from a tiny sample of people over only 5 days. Scientifically pretty insignificant. But it does make sense logically (and I’m all about logic!).
Another benefit of sleeping with the windows open is that it allows fresh, humid air to circulate into the room. Sleeping with the window closed can create a situation in which you spend your time sleeping in a room that is insulated and without humidity, which can lead to dehydration.
Furthermore, fresh air has been shown by various studies to actually improve many different aspects of your health including digestion, blood pressure, heart rate, immunity, and energy. Some have even correlated fresh air with happiness. I’ve even read an article about it reducing the risk of diabetes, the more I dug into it though the more hypothetical it got and I think there is a lot more research to do on that note before it can be taken as fact.
But of course there are some downsides. One is the heating costs! We turn our heating off during the night, but then of course reheating the home in the morning takes longer (and you need to remember to shut the windows). Then there is the security risk. Having windows open (and forgetting to shut them) could invite unwelcome guests. And I’m not just talking about mosquitoes!
And of course if you suffer from allergies to things frequently found in the outdoor air, such as pollen, or live in a high pollution area sleeping with the window open might not be such a good idea.
Another point to consider is that around 3 a.m. both the outside temperature and one’s body temperature dip to their lowest points. This can cause muscles in the head and neck to tense up, leading one to wake up with a headache or feeling fatigued. I certainly know that feeling! But then just having an extra blanket nearby or snuggling up can help with that one.
Especially in this cold weather the NHS warns that if you are not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, you need to heat your home (including your bedroom) to at least 18C and keep your windows shut at night.
Choosing whether or not to sleep with the windows open depends largely on your personal situation and preference. I for one think I sleep better with the window open and from what I’ve read that sounds like the healthiest thing to do. But when it is really cold outside maybe just air the room out before going to bed and then shut the window when you go to bed. Use your common sense – that’s always a good idea!
And there is always the option of going to sleep outside in the first place if you like your fresh air. Like my son, who falls asleep in most places… door mats, push-alongs, highchairs or sun loungers in November… 🙂
And now I’m off to bed. I hope you get a good night’s sleep too! Night Night!