Should you sleep with an air purifier on?

Air purifiers have a positive impact on our lives, so some may ask if that impact extends to sleep. This should be a simple answer. Air purifiers are fairly straightforward mechanically and consist of a filter and a fan. The fan blows air through the filter which traps contaminants so cleaner air exits the other side. So all portable air purifiers essentially do only two things – move air and filter contaminants. They should do them well to be effective.

This simple concept requires expert engineering to do it correctly, however. Air molecules and any pollutants dissolved within it move more slowly through a filter. Like water and electricity, air takes the path of least resistance so it and any contaminants will preferentially seek out any gaps around the filter and avoid being cleaned. Good purifiers and even furnace filters are well-sealed into the fan’s airstream by tight gaskets.

When assessing the impact of an air purifier in the home, we can simply take moving air and filtration into account. Let’s take a look at the possible impact during the night.

Moving air

There are some myths thought to originate in Korea and other countries in the same region of the world that it could be fatal or at least bad to sleep with a fan on. Fortunately there is no actual evidence of anyone dying because they fell asleep with the fan on.

However, there are a few things to consider about the movement of air during sleep. Moving air with a fan can cause moisture to evaporate faster, and moisture takes heat with it when it evaporates. This can be a great feature when it is hot and humid because faster moving air can keep you cool. But a fan blowing directly on you can dry out the tissues in your nose and mouth which can cause irritation or worsen allergies. Also, being too cold while sleeping can cause muscle spasm or soreness.

Another issue with moving air with a fan is that any dust or other irritants nearby may be stirred up into the air. This is generally not an issue with a decent air purifier because the air is moving directly into the filter.

A final thing to consider is that moving air is the very definition of noise. Standalone fans and the fans in air purifiers make the same kind of white noise that can help some people sleep by drowning out disruptive noises. Others, however, may be irritated by the constant sound.

Using an air purifier while sleeping is generally the same as using one while awake. If you are sensitive to dryness, then it might be best to be sure that the purifier isn’t blowing directly into your face. Otherwise the air that an air purifier moves while you sleep is the same as a fan – just cleaner.

Removing contaminants

Almost everyone who gets an air purifier does so in order to remove contaminants from the air. There is a whole lot of research on the impact of air pollution in the home, and experts agree that taking steps to minimize indoor pollution is a good idea. Air pollution, indoors or outdoors, can cause heart and lung problems, diabetes, alzheimers and other health problems. It can also cause sleep apnea and other problems that may disrupt a good night’s rest.

In addition, since most of us sleep around eight hours a night, we all take a significant portion of our breaths while we sleep. Running your purifier while you sleep is a great way to spend many hours each day breathing air that was cleaned with your purifier. Overall, removing contaminants from the air will not have a negative impact on sleep.

Here at Molekule we recommend keeping your purifier on at all times so it cleans the air as much as possible. If the white noise is too loud all our units have variable speeds to balance efficiency and sound.

Stay tuned to this blog to keep learning about indoor air quality and what kind of impact it may have.

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