The Little-Known Health Risks of Sleeping with a Fan On

The Little-Known Health Risks of Sleeping with a Fan On

Sleeping with a fan on definitely has its benefits. But you should also be aware of the health risks at the same time.

There are many ways for you and your little ones to beat the tropical heat during the day: eating ice cream, drinking cold fruit juice and splashing around in the pool are just a few of these. But what about at night when the kids are sleeping and you want to make sure they are cool and comfortable?

For those who don't have an AC, a fan is the next best option. However, mummies, did you know that sleeping with electric fans on might not be that good for health? Here are some bad effects of electric fan you never knew about (but don't worry, they are minor, and have solutions). 

bad effects of electric fan

The Cons: Bad Effects of Electric Fan While Sleeping

Sleeping with a fan on can have some unexpected health consequences, reports Medical Daily

Here are the little-known bad effects of electric fans:

  • Sneezing or triggering allergic reactions. Dust and dust mites can make fan blades their homes, marked by thin layers of dust on the blades. Unclean fans can become a health hazard for people with allergies, dispersing pollen or other unhealthy particles in the room.
  • Dry skin. People easily affected by skin conditions and dry skin may experience skin reactions, such as acne breakouts, in the presence of strong and continuous air blasts. If you or your kids suffer from any of these, do apply moisturisers before you sleep, which can help ease these symptoms.
  • Waking up with a runny nose. If a fan is placed very close to the bed, the non-stop rush of air can gradually dry out nasal passages. The lack of moisture in the nose can make your body respond by making mucus, which leads to blocked noses, stuffiness, and sinus headaches.
  • Eye irritation. People who sleep with contact lenses on or with their eyes open are at risk of their eyes drying out from the air, too, which leads to irritated eyes.
  • Parched mouths and throats, which can happen if you or your kids sleep with your mouths open. The rush of air can make your mouth and throat feel very dry, forcing you to wake up thirsty and feeling parched. 

bad effects of electric fan

Pros of Using a Fan

There are some obvious and clear reasons why fans are also good to use while we sleep.

  • Fans cool us down from the blazing heat and boost sleep quality. Dr. Michael Benninger, from the Head and Neck Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, explains why: He says that that cool air aids people in breathing better (unless the air is very dry). 
  • They produce white noise. A constant, whirring sound at a frequency that's just right, helps people get a good night's rest. This is especially useful with babies and young children who wake up in the night frequently. 
  • They keep your room odour-free. Fans which keep continuous airflow around the room will help make your room feel less stale and stuffy.

Tips to Sleep Better and Beat the Heat

In general, fans won't adversely affect your sleep, despite the few bad effects of electric fan which are minor. However, if you do wake up with any of the problems mentioned above, do consider cleaning your fan more frequently or placing it a good distance away from the bed. 

Does the heat still interrupt you and your little one's slumber, mummies? Do consider trying these tips, with or without a fan.

  • Keep your clean fan nearby, but turn it to direct the air away. Don't put the fan directly in front of your face or your baby's face. It can cause infants to have shortness of breath. 
  • Wear lightweight or thinner clothing. For babies, avoid heavy bedding (which is also a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome risk) and dress them in light, age-appropriate sleepwear.  
  • Ensure adequate hydration levels before you go to sleep. Take care to hydrate your little one frequently, too. Babies get dehydrated much easier than adults do. Having enough fluids in the body maintains a stable internal body temperature, which is needed for a comfortable rest.
  • Take a shower before sleeping. Babies, too, will enjoy a bath before bedtime. But take care not to make the water too cold. Babies don't like cold water; cooling their body temperature slightly is more than enough for a good night's rest.
  • According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), dust mites usually trigger allergies. The AAAI suggests that people sensitive to dust mites should clean fans, rugs, and bedding routinely so as to prevent protect themselves from indoor allergens.

Mummies, the benefits of sleeping with a fan on definitely outnumber the minor risks. As explained, just ensure you clean the blades of your fans often and don't place the fan too close to the bed. 

If you use a ceiling fan, get it serviced and cleaned regularly. 


References: Medical Daily, Live ScienceSleep Advisor

Also read other articles:

Tips on keeping your baby cool during hot weather

Singapore mum's horror as ceiling fan breaks over her two children

Should you have a fan in a baby's nursery?

Mummies beware! Ceiling fans can be a safety hazard

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