HealthZette

Sleeping with a Bedside Fan Could Pose Health Risks (Who Knew?)

A gentle breeze artificially created could be stirring up these issues as you snooze and slumber

There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of climbing between the sheets on a hot summer night after turning on a bedside fan. The soothing sound and the wafting air seem like the perfect combination for restorative sleep and sweet dreams.

But while that white noise may gently lull you to unconsciousness, there are some significant health factors to sleeping with a fan you should know about. (See exactly how white noise works to help some people sleep, in the video below.)

As a fan moves air around the room, dust and pollen make their way to you — and up your nasal passages, causing irritations, according to Sleep Advisor. So, if you’re an allergy sufferer or have hay fever or asthma, you could be harming yourself as you snooze.

Also, if those fan blades are dusty, that dust is headed right your way, too.

Sinus irritation can occur because that constant stream of air can dry out your sinuses — and your body may produce excess mucous to compensate. For anyone with nasal blockages, stuffiness, and even headaches, it could be due to that bedside fan.

“I have sore throats even in summer because of my fan, but I’m addicted to the sound,” a 19-year-old Boston college student told LifeZette. “My mom is always worried about the fan blowing on me, so we compromised by moving it farther away from my bed and angled slightly away from me, so I still have the noise I need.”

If you’re waking up with sore muscles or feel stiff, look to your fan for a possible answer. Concentrated cool air can make muscles tense and cramp, warns Sleep Advisor, and is especially common for people who sleep with the fan very near their neck and face.

You could be over-drying your skin by using a fan, too, so you may need extra moisturizer.

The good news about fans? They’re soothing, cooling, and, depending on your age, may even be lifesaving.

Installing a ceiling fan is an easy move to protect your baby from overheating, a known risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to Romper.com.

Related: Hey, Night Owls — Your Days May Be Numbered

There are many apps available to mimic the sound of a fan, if you’re traveling or don’t have your trusty fan handy.

A fan can even act as a makeshift air conditioner, if you follow these simple steps, from Sleep Advisor:

  • Get four to six bottles of water.
  • Add two to three tablespoons of salt to each bottle.
  • Put the bottles in the freezer.
  • When you’re ready for bed, put the frozen bottles on a tray. The tray is there to collect condensation.
  • Put the tray of frozen bottles in front of your fan.
  • Turn it on. As the air blows by the frozen water, you’ll feel a cool breeze.
meet the author

LifeZette senior editor Deirdre Reilly can be reached at [email protected].