is it unsafe to sleep with windows open?
Sleep Safety

Is It Safe To Sleep with The Windows Open At Night?

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Louise Carter

If you get hot and sweaty at night, you may consider opening a window while you sleep.

This can sometimes cool the room, provide ambient noise, and freshen the indoor air. However, there are potential risks to your personal safety and overall well-being.

Without precautions, sleeping with the windows open at night can lead to criminal activity.

You may also be stung by insects or bitten by wildlife. The air quality may be low due to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP), or the temperature may suddenly fall significantly.

There are ways to mitigate most risks through planning. Install safety bars or window stops to prevent burglary, and use screens to deter bugs and wild animals from entering the home.

Is it Unsafe to Sleep with Windows Open?

Sleeping with the windows open always carries a degree of risk. However, some scenarios are far more dangerous than others.

Easily accessible windows increase the risk of intruders when left open.

Likewise, if the environmental conditions in your area are poor, leaving the window open while you sleep could affect your respiratory health.

The most common risks associated with leaving windows open at night are:

  • Burglary.
  • Intrusion from wild animals.
  • Illnesses.
  • Bites and stings from insects.
  • Property damage.

Depending on where you live, some scenarios are more likely than others. Nonetheless, these issues are common with open and unsecured windows, where all inhabitants are asleep.

There are two scenarios most likely to result in undesirable outcomes:

  • A window is open on the first floor.
  • A window is open at night.

If you sleep on the first floor with the windows open at night, the risks are further elevated.

sleeping with windows open at night

Sleep with Windows Open on The First Floor

The riskiest situation is sleeping with a first-floor window open. This is due to the window’s accessibility, especially if it’s accessible or visible from the street.

The main risk is an intruder or burglar entering your home while you sleep. While it’s less common for intruders to enter a home when people are present, it still happens.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 40% of unlawful entries to unoccupied homes, offenders gained access via an unlocked or open window or door.

In a home occupied at the time of entry, 29% of offenders entered via an unlocked or open window or door. In 38% of cases, the offender entered while the home occupants slept.

Those who sleep with windows open on the first floor are also at a higher risk of opportunistic crimes. Here, someone enters the home without having planned the crime.

Statistically, even burglars who plan to break in are unlikely to attempt entry through a second-floor window, even if it’s open when they arrive on the scene.

Sleeping with Windows Open at Night

The above statistical report found that over 60% of break-ins occurred while the occupant was home between 6 PM and 6 AM.

If you sleep with a first-floor window open in the dark, the risk of burglary is elevated.

If you live near a busy road, noise and pollution levels are higher than in quiet or rural areas. Increased noise and low air quality can disrupt sleep and cause health problems.

The Handbook of Clinical Neurology states that temperature and airflow affect sleep quality. High noise levels lead to fitful sleep and prevent you from getting enough deep sleep.

According to Sleep Deprivation and Disease, the functional impact of sleep deprivation and fragmentation is varied, extensive, and negative.

Regular sleep loss increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and reduced cognitive function.

Why Is It Dangerous To Sleep with Windows Open?

Sleeping with open windows can allow airborne pollutants and allergens into the home while you sleep. This can disrupt your sleep due to irritation of the nose and throat.

It could also lead to long-term issues like migraines and breathing troubles due to increased pollutant exposure. Of course, there are also weather and temperature fluctuations to consider.

The purpose of sleeping with the windows open is to make the environment more comfortable. Sleeping with the window open will be detrimental to your comfort if it’s too warm or cold outside.

If your home is in a warm, humid area, you may find that sleeping with the window open allows bugs to bite or sting you. This can be harmful if wasps, scorpions, or venomous spiders are in your area.

Sleeping with the windows open in cold weather could lead to the following:

  • Sore throat.
  • Head pain.
  • Stiff muscles.
  • Respiratory discomfort.

Unless you live in an area with temperatures below freezing and sleep with unsuitable bedding, you’re unlikely to experience any serious side effects.

How Cold Is Too Cold To Sleep With Windows Open?

The ideal temperature for a sleeping environment is 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. You could grow unwell if your sleeping environment exceeds these parameters.

According to the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, those who sleep without adequate nightwear are likelier to experience adverse side effects in a cold room.

Is It Good To Sleep with Windows Open?

There are benefits to sleeping with open windows, especially if you take steps to mitigate the hidden risks. It can be good for your health and contribute to better sleep quality.

Controlling Temperature

Sleeping with open windows could lower the temperature if you have trouble staying cool. This could help those who run hot stay cool even during warm nights.

Air Quality

By letting out musty smells and preventing carbon dioxide build-up, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized. Also, sleeping with the windows open can reduce humidity.

White Noise

If you live in a reasonably quiet area, sleeping with open windows could enable you to achieve more restful sleep due to white noise. They can induce deep sleep as long as the sounds aren’t too loud.

Sleeping with your windows open when it rains can be incredibly soothing.

Sleeping with Windows Open Safety

You must assess the area’s climate and the human risks associated with sleeping with open windows. In a high-crime area, sleeping with a first-floor window open will be unsafe.

sleeping with windows open safety

Safeguard Windows

Take steps to make an open window a non-viable entrance for intruders. You can do this by installing safety bars, but this isn’t something most people want to do because it looks ugly.

Window stops prevent the windows from opening beyond a certain point. They come in many forms and can be installed in almost any window, allowing airflow without leaving the home vulnerable.

Screen Windows

A window screen may not stop a determined person, but it’ll prevent flying pests and bugs from entering your room. Combining a screen with window stops could keep you safe and comfortable.

Insurance

Check the terms of your home and contents insurance. The policy may require you to have specific safety measures in place to maintain coverage if you sleep with the windows open.

Insurance may not cover your home for damage or theft if the window is left open.

It’s not entirely safe to sleep with windows open from the perspective of physical safety or personal health. The good news is that you can minimize these risks with appropriate safeguards.