There are just as many pros as cons to sleeping with a fan on. It’s a really controversial subject. From noise, to allergies to cooling your bedroom on a hot day we look at the good and bad points to having a fan on while you sleep.
What Will I Learn?
Is it a Good Idea to Sleep With a Fan On?
If you’ve already done any research into the pros and cons of sleeping with a fan on, you’ll probably be aware it’s a controversial idea.
Some sites extol the virtues of sleeping with a blade-driven blast of fresh air, others argue it’s an extremely unhealthy thing to do.
So what’s the truth? Sleeping with a fan on: is it good or bad? The truth is, there are valid arguments from either side of the camp.
The best thing to do is to take a look at all the pros and cons and then decide for yourself.
If it’s a hot night and you are not lucky enough to have access to air conditioning, sleeping with a fan on can seem like an excellent idea.
True, even the best electric fans are not as good as air conditioning but they can go a long way to cooling you down. There is something soothing about feeling that blast of cooler air on the skin especially if you are sleeping on the couch.
Many people have some kind of fan in their bedroom. Desk and floor-standing fans are likely the most popular options. However, some people have ceiling fans in their bedrooms instead.
Where it comes from is not important, the main thing is the fan’s ability to deliver that blast of air.
Unfortunately, there are also some negative aspects that can come into play when you’re sleeping with a fan.
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Arguments Against Sleeping with a Fan
They Make a Noise
Light sleepers sometimes complain the sound of the fan keeps them awake.
However, although the noise of the electric motor is certainly a consideration, it’s unlikely to be any more disruptive than feeling too hot.
Sleeping next to a fan or spending the night sweating, which one sounds like the lesser of two evils?
It’s also important not to lose sight of the fact that modern fans are pretty quiet. Most people find they can drop off next to a running fan without any problems at all.
Complaints about fan noise are in the minority.
In fact, as you will learn later, fans may actually help you to sleep.
They Trigger Asthma Attacks
There are valid arguments against using a fan if you have asthma. Sleeping with a fan on may be especially bad if you leave your window open.
The combination of a fan and an open window can significantly increase the pollen count in your room.
Obviously, this isn’t an ideal scenario for anyone with hay fever or other allergies either.
One of the problems with fans is the blades are very good at collecting dust and pollen. This also happens when the fan is not switched on.
When the blades are in motion they blast the dust and pollen around the room. More specifically, considering where they will likely be pointing, they blast it directly at you.
Cleaning your fan blades every day is a good way to try and keep this situation under control.
Unfortunately, although cleaning your fan may improve the situation to a certain extent, it won’t make the problem go away.
So if you have asthma or allergies and want to try sleeping with a fan on, you need to be aware doing so may not be a good idea.
They Cause Dry Air
This is another popular argument against going to sleep with a fan on. However, if you also go to sleep with a humidifier on, your fan is unlikely to present this type of problem.
That notwithstanding sleeping in the path of a fan does increase the likelihood of dry skin.
If you sleep with your mouth open, it may also dry out your mouth. Apart from providing an unpleasant sensation when you wake up, this could also cause you to start snoring.
Believe it or not, some people actually go to sleep with their eyes partially open. Crazy as it sounds, it’s actually true.
If you are one of the people who do this, sleeping in the path of all that dry air could also irritate your eyes, leading to further misery when waking.
True there are things you can do, but the situation may not be ideal. A glass of water can be an excellent natural remedy for a dry throat and ultimately lessen the need to snore.
Eye drops are good for soothing sore eyes and it’s possible to apply moisturizer to your skin.
Nevertheless, you can be forgiven if you decide to forgo the fan that caused the problem instead of trying to rectify the damage. Having said that using a fan in tandem with a humidifier may still be a viable option.
They Can Cause Sore Muscles
Sleeping within range of a fan’s artificial breeze also has the potential to make you wake up with sore muscles. Don’t dismiss the idea as an old wives’ tale. It’s absolutely true.
Now you’re probably wondering how the blast of a fan can have this effect on your muscles. The answer is simple. That concentrated non-stop blast of air can cause your muscles to tense up and go into cramp.
The risk of fan-related muscle cramps increases considerably if you go to sleep with the fan aimed towards your neck or face. Do you often wake up with a stiff neck? If so, your fan could be to blame.
Arguments for Sleeping with a Fan on
They Help Cool You Down and Make it Easier to Sleep
The best argument for sleeping next to a fan is also the most obvious. The blast of air they provide can help take away the worst of the heat.
Apart from keeping you awake at night, a lot of sweating is not good. It causes you to lose important minerals your body uses as neurotransmitters.
And let’s not forget lack of sleep is a problem in itself. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you will likely suffer from fatigue the following day.
This can affect your ability to function at work and may have a detrimental effect on your quality of life.
There are a great many bad things sleep deprivation can do to your body.
Weight gain and reduced sex drive are just two of them.
If the presence of a fan in your room can help even the odds, that’s all well and good.
They Produce White Noise
The sound a fan makes is very similar to white noise. The chances are you have heard of this and don’t know what it is.
White noise consists of all the different frequencies of sound and all of them are happening together. Think of it as 20,000 tones resonating together.
Some people listen to white noise recordings at night to help them to sleep. Such recordings can be especially good if you live in the center of a big city or another noisy area.
Due to its unique nature, white noise is very good at masking other sounds such as heavy traffic and noisy neighbors.
In a study involving 40 newborn babies, 80% of them fell asleep within a five-minute exposure to white noise.
Despite the fact that some people claim fans keep them awake, there are valid arguments for using them as a type of low-budget white noise machine.
They Freshen Up Your Room
If you work or spend most of your day away from home for another reason, there’s a good chance your windows will be closed for most of the day.
Of course, not everyone bothers to close their windows before they go out, but leaving windows open when no one is home does present security issues.
Unfortunately, a secure home can also be a stuffy home because the rooms don’t get the opportunity to become well-aired.
Having the windows closed for most of the day also allows cooking smells and other odors to build-up in your home.
Having a fan in your bedroom, or any other area of your home for that matter, is a good way to get the air circulating and freshen things up.
During sleep, it may also help purge your sleeping space of body odours along with the stale air that exits your lungs.
However, although the improvements in air circulation may be desirable for a lot of people, there is a flip-side. It can also stir-up and circulate dust.
As mentioned earlier on in this article, this won’t be ideal if you suffer from asthma or allergies.
Should You Be Considering Sleeping with a Fan On?
As you can see, there are slightly more arguments against using a fan at night than there are supporting it.
So, what’s the score? Is it a good idea for you to sleep with a fan or not?
Fans can be an ideal solution for anyone who is in good health and finds it difficult to sleep at night because they cannot handle the heat.
Even if you sleep with your window closed and your bedroom door is shut, the circulating air will help make your room somewhat cooler.
As an added bonus, you may also find yourself dropping off to sleep a bit faster courtesy of the fan’s ability to generate white noise.
Apart from overpowering the sounds that are external to your home, a good fan may also overpower the sound of a snoring partner.
If that’s the case, see it as a bonus, but close-range snoring can be a powerful thing so don’t hold your breath.
However, sleeping with a fan on in your bedroom is no just a matter of personal preference.
There are valid reasons why the practice is not suitable for all. If you have allergies or asthma, you may want to think twice.
Is it safe to sleep with a fan on when I am sick?
If you are already unwell, sleeping with a fan on is unlikely to make your condition worse. However, it could increase your misery in other ways.
That ongoing blast of air may irritate your sinuses. It could also dry out your mouth causing you to get a sore throat or making an existing sore throat feel even worse.
The fact that your fan is blowing your germs around may also increase the likelihood of your loved ones becoming ill too. Do you really want to share and share alike?
I’ve heard fans are bad for your ears, is this true?
If you are using an extremely old or poor-quality fan that makes a lot of mechanical noise, your fan may not be good for your ears. However, most modern fans are pretty quiet and are more likely to support restful sleep than disrupt it.
Using earplugs is a possible answer, but here’s a better one: buy a new fan.
Does sleeping next to a fan cause snoring?
Sleeping next to a fan won’t have this effect on everyone but the potential is certainly there. However, this is a problem that is more specific to people who sleep with their mouth open at night. People who do this are often said to be catching flies.
When you sleep with your mouth open, the blast of air from your fan may cause your mouth, tongue, and throat to become unusually dry. This might cause you to start snoring.
If you are sleeping with a partner, you may want to pray white noise works in your favor. If it doesn’t you could catch an elbow in the ribs.