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Pros and Cons of Sleeping With a Fan On

ProsCons
staying cool at night can cause better sleepsleep can be disturbed by blowing air
can help reduce dehydration overnightthe increased airflow can dry mucous membranes
fans can repel mosquitosnoise can lead to lower quality sleep
fans are more efficient than air conditioning it can cause muscles to stay tense overnight
the background noise can improve sleep


Cooling effects of fans improve sleep and reduce sweating/dehydration but can also disturb sleep and cause muscle aches if the cooling is too great. Fans repel mosquitoes and are more efficient than ACs. Some people like the noise; others don’t. Blowing air can disturb sleep and dry out mucous membranes.

Pros of Sleeping With a Fan On

Staying Cool in Summer Can Improve Sleep

As we prepare to go to sleep each night, our body goes through a natural cooling process as a part of the circadian rhythm. Sleeping with a fan on can help promote this cooling process as it cools the skin.

In addition, melatonin is an essential hormone when it comes to sleep. When melatonin is produced in the body, it helps the body stay on a regular sleep-wake cycle and leads to higher quality sleep.

Research has shown that when a room is kept at a cool temperature of 60-68 °F (15-20 °C) it can help increase melatonin production.

There are many health benefits to getting high-quality sleep. These include:

  • improved brain function
  • higher energy levels
  • promotion of heart health
  • increased muscular repair
  • improved immune function
health benefits of getting high quality sleep: improved brain function, higher energy levels, promotion of heart health, increased muscular repair and improved immune function

Quality sleep can also decrease the likelihood of developing certain diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. This is because of the hormone and blood sugar regulation that happens when we sleep.

There are also many mental and emotional health benefits that come from sleep:

  • better emotional regulation
  • better attention
  • higher positivity levels
  • increased ability to relax
  • lower stress

Don’t Wake Up Dehydrated

Another health-related benefit of sleeping with a fan running is that, in certain circumstances, it lowers the hances of waking up dehydrated.

A fan can help with this because it lowers the body temperature, and this can be helpful in avoiding excessive sweating if the room is too hot.

As we sweat, we lose water from our bodies. Sleeping in a room that’s too hot can result in sweating throughout the night, resulting in a loss of water that can lead to dehydration.

This can be especially harmful if the heat isn’t enough to wake you up so that you can address the issue, but is enough to keep you sweating throughout the night.

Some symptoms of dehydration upon waking up include:

  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • dark-colored urine
  • excessive tiredness
  • dizziness

As we sleep, we already go a long time without drinking any water. So, anything that helps avoid further dehydration is good.

Keep Mosquitos Away

Mosquitos are very annoying insects that can disturb sleep and steal your vital lifeblood (not enough to kill you, but I’m quite miserly when it comes to giving my blood to pesky insects). They also carry a smorgasbord of diseases.

Mosquitos are very attracted to humid places, and since they look for human hosts, a sweaty person is a perfect target for them. Since a fan helps cool the skin, it can make you a less attractive host.

Another benefit of a fan running is that the blowing air it produces can make it difficult for mosquitos to fly. This is because they aren’t very strong flyers to begin with and the air currents created by the rotating blades make it extra difficult.

Mosquitos use scent to help locate humans, so having a fan running can make it harder for them to find you as the blowing air will cause the scent to go to many different places throughout the room.

Use Less Electricity Than ACs

Generally, fans are much more energy-efficient than air conditioning. They use less electricity and cost less per year to run.

It is estimated that to run a fan at the average speed for an entire year will only require 482 kWh-657 kWh, depending on the length of its blades.

In contrast, one estimation is that air conditioners would require 7,884 kWh to run for the entire year. This number varies highly depending on the climate and how often the AC is used among other variables.

For ceiling fans, this translates to a cost of about $5.75-$40.22 per year to run the fan 24/7. However, for air conditioning, this comes out to a cost of about $1,980 if the AC is run daily for 10 hours at a time.

Hunter Fan Company 50810 Presto Ceiling Fan, 52, Matte Black

As you can see, a ceiling fan is a much better solution than air conditioning for staying cool at night when it comes to the overall cost and electrical efficiency, even when taking the variability of systems into account.

Noise Can Be Soporific

For many people, background sounds while sleeping are very comforting and relaxing things to have throughout the night.

A ceiling fan produces ambient noise, which can be extremely helpful if you prefer to have background noise when sleeping.

In addition, using a ceiling fan as background noise can help drown out other sounds, such as other home appliances (I should research why refrigerators are so darn noisy), traffic noise, etc., and minimize their disruptions to your sleep.

Either way, if the noise that comes from sleeping with a ceiling fan running is helpful to you personally, then it is a pro, as it will lead to better quality sleep and all of the benefits that I mentioned before.

There are mixed results in the research that has been done on background noise and if it helps or harms sleep, so it all comes down to personal preference and what works best for you.

Pros of sleeping with a fan on: staying cool in summer can improve sleep, don't wake up dehydrated, keep mosquitos away, use less electricity than ACs and noise can be soporific

Cons of Sleeping With a Fan On

Blowing Air Can Reduce Sleep Quality

There are many ways that blowing air can make it harder to sleep, all differing in the seriousness of their consequences.

For light sleepers, blowing air may be enough to make it too difficult to fall or stay asleep. This is due to the noise as well as the sensation of blowing air.

A fan blowing can cause issues for people with allergies, as it can keep certain particles circulating in the air throughout the night. This can cause allergy symptoms such as congestion, watery eyes, itchiness, sneezing, and coughing to occur during sleep and even wake you up.

Sleeping with a fan on can also trigger many respiratory issues. This is very serious because it can result in severe medical issues, including death in rare and extreme cases.

For individuals with sleep apnea, asthma, or any other respiratory issue, the blowing air from a fan can cause issues with their condition because the fan can create an oxygen deficiency around the face.

Fan Dries Out Mucous Membranes

While a fan can help with dehydration due to its cooling properties, it can also have a negative effect for the same reason.

Moisture in our body naturally dries out at night, so when a fan is blowing it can enhance this effect and lead to dry skin, eyes, nose, and mouth.

As the skin dries, it may become itchy and flaky and require lotion or another moisturizing agent to heal it.

Dry eyes can also become very itchy, red, and irritated. It can also lead to light sensitivity and may cause pain and discomfort for individuals who wear contact lenses.

A dry nose is bad because it can lead to a nosebleed and wake you up in the night. In addition, dryness can cause a buildup of hardened mucous in the nose that can feel gross and uncomfortable.

The mouth can become very sticky as it dries. The lips can also become chapped and painful. Bad breath is a common symptom of having a dry mouth.

In addition, dryness in the mouth and nose can also make you sick as it dries out your mucous membranes, which are one of your body’s barriers against pathogens.

Noise Can Be Disturbing to Sensitive Sleepers

The background noise of a fan may be a pro for some, but for others it can be a con, especially for individuals that are easily woken up.

A fan can be loud enough to wake a light sleeper, especially if it squeaks or rattles (you might want to check in case these noises are signs of problems). This is more likely if the fan isn’t given routine maintenance.

It’s important to keep in mind that noise can disturb sleep without waking you. If there’s constant noise as you sleep, it can have negative consequences for your health.

In the short term, noise can lead to an unstable mood and increased tiredness the next day. In the long term, there are more serious risks, such as diabetes or cancer.

As I said, the research done on noise and sleep produces inconsistent results, so it’s up to personal preference. It could just as easily be harmful rather than helpful.

Can Make Muscles Ache

Achy muscles as a result of sleeping with a fan on have more to do with the cooling effect of the fan rather than the fan itself.

The muscles have a tendency to contract in cooler temperatures because it allows the body to conserve heat and stay warm. As the fan cools you down, it may cause your muscles to tense up.

Alternatively, if a fan blowing has an unconscious effect on you throughout the night making you anxious this may also cause you to tense your muscles, as our body does this as a response to fear.

After tensing the muscles all night, you may wake up with joint pain and stiffness. This can cause minor discomfort, or pain in everyday activities if it’s more serious.

man sitting in bed touching his leg due to muscle ache

Sources

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/melatonin

https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleeping-in-a-cold-room/#:~:text=Another%20way%20that%20keeping%20your%20room%20cold%20can,Out%20More%3A%20How%20Thermoregulation%20Works%20During%20Sleep%20Anti-Aging

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6281147/

https://www.psychreg.org/benefits-regular-quality-sleep/

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/benefits-sleep-more/

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/noise-and-sleep

https://www.searsheatingcooling.com/cost-to-run-air-conditioner/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086

https://www.terminix.com/mosquito-control/prevention/can-fans-keep-mosquitoes-away/#:~:text=The%20short%20answer%20is%20yes%2C%20fans%20can%20actually,that%20mosquitoes%20use%20to%20locate%20hosts%20for%20feeding.

https://www.sleepbubble.com/is-it-bad-to-sleep-with-a-fan-blowing-on-you/#Is_It_Bad_to_Sleep_with_a_Fan_Blowing_on_You

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