Reader Ted asked: Is fresh air good when sleeping?
Thanks for asking, Ted, and the scientific answer is - it depends.
Fresh air can be beneficial at bedtime for many people because it increases the amount of available oxygen in the room.
Even though it is resting, our brains still need energy, so extra oxygen helps the brain fall into a stress-free slumber.
This means that people often sleep more soundly if they have fresh, circulating air to breathe.
This also applies to those with allergies - an open window and fresh air could alleviate what turns out to often be a surprising amount of dust in the bedroom, (although if you're a hay fever sufferer don't keep your window open all night in spring.
Your body temperature drops when sleeping, so some people find that some fresh, cool air helps them reach that temperature and fall asleep.
Body temperature is extremely important to maintain, because if you get too cold your immune system lowers, and you may be more susceptible to infection.
It's always a good idea to keep a warm blanket nearby for this reason.
There are some exceptions of course. For example, if you live in Antarctica, it may be best to sleep with the window closed to prevent becoming a nap-sicle.
But opening a window isn't the only option - you could also just open the door.
This also regulates oxygen levels, temperature and humidity so you can drift off to dreamland. It's also much easier to sneak out for a midnight snack.
A study in 2016 found that a similar effect can be achieved with a fan, which might have the added bonus of white noise if you are into that sort of thing.
- These articles are published in partnership with Cosmos Magazine. Cosmos is produced by The Royal Institution of Australia.
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