With the horrors of Daylight Savings Time looming, we’re already dreading the upcoming loss of sleep. (Seriously, we’re going to need several bottles of Can’t Beet This! on that day.) But the annual time to “spring forward” inspired us to improve our sleeping habits.
We’ve talked about sleep a bit here and we’ve even outlined the troubles of not getting enough here. But imagine our surprise when we learned about one factor that hadn’t crossed our mind. And it might be something you’ve never thought about either.
Can air quality affect our nighttime slumber? Sounds a little crazy, right? Well, the answer could be “yes.”
More Air, More Sleep?
Mattress comfort, glaring blue light from cell phones or hyper-energetic children all make appearances on the list of things most people would consider in logging more hours of sleep. But air quality is often overlooked. A study published in the journal Indoor Air suggests we should be more aware.
A 2017 Netherlands study focused on 17 volunteers and monitored their sleeping habits in a controlled environment over two nights (1). On one night, they slept with the windows and doors open. On a separate night, they slept with everything closed. The study was led by Dr. Asita Mishra of Eindhoven University of Technology.
He and his team measured sleep quality with armbands that checked the participant’s skin temperature, bed temperature and skin moisture. Researchers also measured bedroom carbon dioxide (C02) levels.
So, what did the researchers find?
While closed sleep environments yielded less background noise, they also boasted significantly higher C02, compared to when they were open. Skin temperature was also higher in the closed environment, when compared to open.
And how did the sleepers fare?
Participants woke up less and their sleep efficiency improved as C02 dropped. In other words, they enjoyed better sleep in a more open environment.
It’s a simple theory when you think about it. When you close your bedroom door, you’re locking air in there. That means the bacteria and other particles present are just spiraling around your sleeping body, with nowhere else to go. Opening a door or window allows for newer, “fresher” to filter its way in while pushing other air out. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you are), cooler drafts can blow in as well.
So, should you try this potential sleeping hack? After all, lack of sleep can worsen stress, mood and mental health.
Look, we’ll be honest–this finding isn’t exactly a game-changer. However, it’s worth a try for deeper sleep. And for those that are wary of leaving any outside windows open at night, fret not. Mishra recognizes the safety concerns of leaving your home open in any capacity while you sleep and suggests opening doors indoors could be just as helpful.
Getting Better Sleep
With better sleep in mind, here are a few other factors you should think about it in helping you get your 8 hours.
Besides windows and doors, there’s one more thing you can keep open that can help you get more shut-eye. It’s your mind! Okay…that was a bit cheesy, but nonetheless, it’s true.
Actually, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests simply meditating before bed could help you rest better. (2)
Meditation could mean different things. For some, that might include thinking about the next day. For others (like us), that could trigger an onslaught of worry and thoughts.
Give it a try tonight. This blog gives clear direction and helpful tips for guided meditation.
While meditation allows you to let the light in metaphorically, you might not want to do it literally. Exposure to light can actually hurt your circadian rhythm and prevent you from falling asleep. Because of this, The National Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping with the lights off.
Here are some tips for limiting light:
- Use light-blocking curtains if too outside stimuli permeates your windows and doors.
- Limit TV and computer time before sleeping.
- Put your phone down before you sleep and place it somewhere that is not easily accessible. (Resist the urge to scroll in the wee hours of the night!)
Better Sleep with Purium
There’s nothing wrong with looking for holistic help. Should you consider turning to supplements, we suggest you stay clear of dangerous sleeping pills and look for a more natural alternative.
Some of our sleep-supporting products that people love include:
- Our Sleep Pack — featuring tart cherry concentrate (natural melatonin, organic passiflora, kava root and more sleep-supporting phytochemicals.