The idea of sleeping with your window open as autumn chills the air may seem a bit far- fetched. “Say What?” you ask, with a shiver. After all, isn’t this the season to snuggle under cozy blankets and hibernate?
Absolutely, and how about a cup of chamomile tea? However, it’s easy to overheat your bedroom and yourself in the desire to become warm. You may find yourself flinging off bedding or changing into summer pajamas.
Opening your window, or even just the bedroom door can help regulate body temperature, and there are studies to prove there are more benefits beyond a good night’s sleep.
“All I Need is the Air That I Breathe”
Song lyrics that hold true… as long as that air is oxygen-rich. Remember learning in science class that our lungs are designed to inhale and exhale? We inhale the oxygen we need to live, exhale the carbon dioxide that our cells produce. The carbon dioxide is stale air our bodies need to get rid of.
Trying to sleep easily and deeply in a closed bedroom can be, for your lungs, like your eyes trying to see through a dense fog as you drive down a road. Air is around you, just as on a foggy day, the road is under your car. However, the exchange of carbon dioxide with oxygen is stopped in this sealed room, and the lungs must work harder to bring in fresh air.
Two Letters and a Number
Two studies carried out in 2015 and 2017 concluded that opening either a window or a door lowers the CO2 in the bedroom, helps to improve air flow and quality of sleep.
Both pieces of research were published in the Indoor Air journal. In the 2015 study, students sleeping with open dorm windows were more alert the next day and performed better on tests than students who slept with air released through a vent only when CO2 levels became very high.
The 2017 study of young adult volunteers, similarly found that less ventilation, this time due to closed windows or doors, led to higher levels of carbon dioxide. When the room was open in some way, the CO2 went down and the adults slept through the night with fewer awakenings.
The gist: To sleep deeply, we need ventilation, that is, an adequate exchange of fresh air coming into our bedrooms.
Use Your Best Judgment
Sleeping well starts with feeling comfortable and secure. You may not feel secure opening your bedroom window at night. In that case, consider cracking your bedroom door to increase air flow.
Find your happy balance to help you breathe fully and sleep well. Openings can lead to new discoveries! The joy of hearing autumn crickets, the soothing sounds of breezes or raindrops.