Achieving the right ambient temperature is critical for inducing sleep. Sleeping next to a fan reduces your body temperature and redistributes air around a hot room so it doesn’t feel as stuffy.
However, it’s not always advisable to sleep next to a fan. While fans redistribute air and blow allergens around the room, they can trigger an adverse reaction while you sleep.
The fan’s cool air dries out the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. You may wake up with a stuffy nose, headache, or sore throat. Fans can also cause muscle tension, leading to cramps.
You can sleep with a fan, but there are other ways to reduce your body temperature.
Benefits of Sleeping With A Fan
Some people derive comfort from sleeping with a fan in their bedroom.
If you’re one of them, your choice has certain benefits. If you’re asking, “Should I sleep with a fan on?” there are reasons why it could work for you:
The most obvious advantage of sleeping with a fan is reducing the ambient temperature around you. According to Frontiers in Neuroscience, a lower body temperature promotes more restful sleep.
Using a fan can be beneficial during the hottest months when body temperature runs high overnight. A fan’s steady breeze may prevent you from overheating and sweating.
Redistribution of Air
If you’ve kept your windows closed all day, you may find the air in a room feels stuffy and stale. Artificial sprays, like air fresheners, linger in the atmosphere, adding to the heaviness.
Even if you open windows by day and close them at night, you risk allowing pollutants into the room and entrapping them. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health discusses how air pollution can disturb sleep quality.
Most fans oscillate, enabling them to blow cool air all over a room. This can be important for air purity, as you’ll redistribute air throughout the room.
This means a fan is a cost-effective alternative to an air purifier, albeit less effective.
A large enough fan to create a sufficient breeze in your room will likely be run by a comparatively loud motor, which means it’ll generate noise overnight.
For some, this makes fans a non-starter, while others find the white noise generated by a fan comforting.
If you don’t object to the noise of a fan, it may assist with sleep. White noise can give you something to focus on, blocking out sirens, car horns, and other noises associated with busy cities.
Safety in Infants
Using a fan may be a safety measure if you share your bedroom or co-sleep with a baby. According to JAMA Pediatrics, sleeping with a fan reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
A fan redistributes air, preventing carbon dioxide from pooling around the child’s nose and mouth. This makes it less likely that a sleeping infant will inhale dangerous levels of CO2.
Drawbacks of Sleeping With A Fan
Some experts believe sleeping beside a fan can be dangerous or unhealthy for the following reasons:
Congestion of the Eyes, Nose, And Throat
Do you find that you wake up with a stuffy nose after sleeping beside a fan? That’s because the circulating air of a fan dries out the eyes, nose, and throat, generating mucus.
Sleeping next to a fan won’t necessarily make you sick, but it’ll magnify any problems if you feel unwell. As your throat dries out, you’re likelier to snore, disturbing a partner and causing dehydration.
Dries Out The Skin
Sleeping beside a fan can leave the skin feeling dry in the morning. If you’re wondering, “What happens if you sleep with a fan blowing on your face?” this is the answer.
Dry skin can be assisted with lotions and moisturizers, especially night creams that sink into your skin while you sleep. Your skin may be more hydrated if you avoid tower and ceiling fans.
Dust, pet dander, and even pollen attached to clothing may attach to you while you sleep. For example, if you have a pet bird in your bedroom, this will make feather dust airborne.
This isn’t necessarily a concern if you don’t have allergies. If you do, using a fan puts you at risk. While dozing, you’re vulnerable. Anything that affects the respiratory system has negative repercussions.
Muscle Soreness and Cramps
Individuals with long-term muscular or skeletal injuries experience more discomfort in cold weather.
The same applies to sleeping in front of a fan because prolonged exposure to the concentrated airflow increases the likelihood of muscle cramping and soreness.
Many of us already feel stiff in the morning. While we’re inactive overnight, synovial fluid doesn’t lubricate the joints. This means we need to stretch to get everything moving again.
The cold air from a fan magnifies this concern, meaning it takes longer to loosen up.
Energy Consumption and Safety Hazards
Consider the safety implications of running a fan overnight, including:
- Trailing cables from a plug socket to the fan creates a tripping hazard.
- The risk of an electrical fire is elevated when an appliance is left running unsupervised.
- Fans can topple over, especially if nudged by a pet negotiating a dark bedroom.
If you use a fan, consider attaching it to a timed plug so that it switches off once you’ve dozed off.
Alternatives To Sleeping With A Fan
Considering the risks inherent in sleeping beside a fan, it becomes clear that it’s not an ideal way to stay cool at night. There are other ways to avoid overheating while you sleep.
The obvious alternative to a fan is air conditioning, but if this were an option, you likely wouldn’t be using a fan. Let’s assume that sleeping with open windows isn’t viable due to noise or safety concerns.
There are still methods to maintain a reasonable temperature overnight, none of which have the hazards associated with sleeping beside a fan.
Cool Off Before Bed
If you keep a room cool during the day, you won’t trap heat. Do the following:
- Open the windows while you’re out of the room if it’s safe.
- Get blackout curtains or blinds that block sunlight.
- Place a hot water bottle filled with cold water and ice cubes in your bed before climbing in.
These simple measures help maintain a comfortable temperature overnight without a fan.
Nightwear or Bedsheets
The same applies to bedsheets. Consider if you need to sleep under the covers, and if you do, reduce the tog rating of your comforter.
If you equip the bed with a smart mattress, you can set it to a preferred temperature.
Most smart mattresses allow two halves of the bed to run at different temperatures, which is ideal if you sleep with a partner. You can select a comfortable level of coolness for your side of the bed.
There are advantages to sleeping with a fan, but when we weigh all the pros and cons, it’s better to find a different way to stay cool overnight. Electric fans are best used during waking hours.