Can i sleep with a fan on at night?

Here’s why you shouldn’t use an electric fan at night during hot weather

Using a fan in a heatwave is a no-brainer, right?

After a slow start to the summer this year, temperatures are starting to climb in parts of the UK, and they don’t look set to be dropping any time soon. In fact, the Met Office put out a yellow heat-health alert across almost all of the UK this week – as temperatures reach 30°C for the first time this year.

What’s more, heatwaves are more and more likely due to climate change and higher concentrations of COin the atmosphere. Not only does that mean it’s time to get clued up on the best swimwear brands and stock up on melamine plates and face suncream, in a country with a serious lack of air conditioning, it also means whacking out a powerful fan to aid in airflow and keep your living room from becoming an actual sauna.

But that’s where we could be going wrong, according to one expert. Martin Seeley, the CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay, is urging people to consider turning their electric fans OFF at night to improve their sleep and better their health.

Whilst an electric fan is a cost-effective means of cooling down at night if you can’t afford a precious air-con system, there are some downsides to using an electric fan, according to Martin.

Here, he shares four negative impacts using a fan at night can have on your health, plus some ways to beat the heat without one.

It can cause a stiff neck or sore muscles

If you have any pre-existing muscle pains, perhaps from working out or from improper posture whilst working at a desk, Martin says you should refrain from directing the electric fan on this area throughout the night. “This is because the concentrated cool air can make your muscles tense and cramp up, causing you even more pain. You may even notice that you’ve gained a stiff neck since using an electric fan so refrain from using it for a few nights to see if you spot a difference,” he says.

It can trigger allergens and asthma

Naturally, when an electric fan is on, it circulates the air around the room. “However,” warns Martin, “what many people aren’t aware of is that it also circulates dust mites, spores, pollen, and other allergens.” So, if you find that you’re suffering from excessive sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose, itchy throats and even breathing difficulties, make sure that there is no dust on the blades of your electric fan. “If you have the budget, it is worth upgrading to a better fan that can purify the air by reducing the pollen particles and dust mites throughout the room. However, if this isn’t possible, regularly deep cleaning your bedroom will help alleviate your allergies,” he adds.

It can cause congestion

If you’ve ever had an electric fan on all day, you’ll be aware of how dry the air feels due to the excess wind. As Martin explains: “Naturally, over time, this can dry out your nose and throat – which results in your body needing to produce more mucus to stay hydrated. However, this can create many side effects, including a headache, stuffy nose and even a sinus headache.” To stop this from happening, you should ensure that you drink at least two litres of water throughout the day. Noted.

It can give you dry eyes and cause irritation

Dry air can also cause dry eyes, which can lead to irritation. This is even more important for those that wear contact lenses due to them increasing your likelihood of dryness and irritations. “You can, however, get around this if you purchase a rotating electric heater as it circulates the air more,” says Martin.

So how can we keep cool without a fan? To create a comfortable sleeping environment, you should keep your bedroom between 16 to 18°C. Naturally, you can use a fan to achieve this lower temperature, however, if you’re suffering from one of the four side effects listed above, there are other ways to beat the heat and get a good night’s sleep…

Put your pillowcase or hot water bottle in the freezer before your bedtime

If you struggle to cool down at night, fill your hot water bottle up with cold water and put it in the freezer an hour before you plan on going to bed. Or, if you don’t own a hot water bottle, put your pillowcase in the freezer for 15 minutes before you plan on hitting the hay.

Run your wrists under cold water

When you brush your teeth before bed, you should also run your wrists under cold water for a few minutes before bedtime, as this quickly cools your body down.

Keep your bedroom blinds and curtains shut all-day

Naturally, the sun tends to be the hottest throughout the day so a top tip is to keep your blinds and curtains shut throughout the day, to prevent the sun from coming in. This should keep your bedroom cooler at night-time when it’s time to fall asleep.

Sleep naked for deeper sleep, and to release this important hormone in your body

If you start to overheat in bed, even a little bit, you’re likely to wake up in the middle of the night which will disrupt your sleeping pattern. However, sleeping naked is the fastest and easiest way to regulate your body temperature. It also increases your chances of deeper sleep, which is needed to stay alert the following day, which is extra important if you’re at home. Plus, sleeping naked with a partner will also release more of the hormone oxytocin, otherwise known as the ‘love hormone, which helps you bond better. Win-win.

Make sure to drink at least two litres of water throughout the day

Not only does keeping hydrated boost your energy but your metabolism, too. Even mild dehydration can leave you sleepy and tired, negatively disrupting your mood.

Try to avoid napping but if you must, do it the right way

Whilst the sun makes it incredibly easy to have an accidental afternoon nap, this can have a detrimental effect on your sleep that night unless it’s done right. If you must nap, you should only sleep for between 10-20 minutes – as anything longer than 30 minutes can risk feeling groggy as your body will have entered a deep sleep cycle.

Also, make sure to time your nap right. As your alertness naturally dips in the afternoon, you should pay attention to when you start to feel drowsy and nap straight away (if possible). Make sure this is more than 8 hours before your bedtime though, as it could impact your sleep if not.

Stop drinking alcohol at least four hours before your bedtime

Whilst drinking a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is customary for many during a heatwave, it’s important to stop drinking at the right time so your sleep isn’t disrupted. Whilst alcohol can make you fall asleep due to its sedative properties and, therefore, allow you to fall asleep quickly, what’s not common knowledge is that your sleep quality is considerably lower after consuming alcohol. You won’t feel recharged the following morning and will suffer from excessive sleepiness throughout the day. So, if you do decide to drink, try to stop drinking at least four hours before your bedtime so it’s mostly worn off by the time you drift off.

Switch your duvet cover to a lighter one

You should switch your duvet cover not only to a lighter colour, but in a lighter material – to regulate your body temperature if you tend to sweat at night. It’s important to choose this type of bedding during spring and summer as night sweats can disturb your sleep and significantly impact your mood.

Also, remember to wash your bedding once a week in spring and summer to remove any build-up of bacteria, especially if you are prone to sweating.


Article written by Glamour…