Does an air purifier or humidifier help you sleep better?
You probably remember the days of menthol rubs and humidifiers easing you through the discomfort of childhood colds, but it turns out that the classic steam machine—and its cousin, the air purifier—can benefit adults as well. By helping maintain your home’s humidity levels and air quality, these handy appliances can alleviate all sorts of health concerns, giving you sound sleep and all of its perks.
An array of options
If you’re looking to breathe easier and get a better night’s sleep as a result, there’s good news: The range of solutions is practically endless. In addition to sleep aids like ambient and white-noise players, eye masks, circadian rhythm apps and aromatherapy sprays, air machines can transform a home’s atmosphere, optimizing the conditions for a deep, restorative rest.
Air machines fall into two main categories. Humidifiers add moisture to the air through steam or cool mist, while purifiers filter out allergens and other pesky particles. There are benefits to both—purifiers earn high marks for allergy and asthma relief, while humidifiers can relieve sinus problems and make the common cold easier to bear. And there’s another plus side: By minimizing sleep interruptions, air machines can help you maintain heart health in the long term.
The health benefits of humidifiers
Humidifiers can help sooth common issues caused by dry air, like irritated sinuses, cracked lips and nosebleeds. They can also ease the brunt of a cold or respiratory infection by emitting either warm steam (vaporizers) or cool moisture (ultrasonic or evaporative humidifiers). When the air we breathe is moist enough to promote normal respiratory function, it’s easier to stay asleep across an eight-hour period, providing enough REM cycles for the body to rejuvenate itself overnight.
Healthy indoor humidity levels should fall between 30 and 50 percent. Aside from keeping the air comfortable and moist, humidifiers can also be used to boost your mood through scent. Add some essential oils to emit a calming or invigorating hit of aromatherapy. Lavender oil is great for relaxation, while peppermint and eucalyptus help promote energy and focus.
The health benefits of air purifiers
Air purifiers can help reduce harmful respiratory irritants inside your house that you probably don’t even realize are there. (According to recent World Health Organization research, almost 4 million heart disease and lung cancer deaths each year can be linked to household air pollution.) In areas with considerable smog, tobacco smoke, mold and other airborne contaminants, a whole-home air purification console with a strong HEPA filter can shield against some serious health risks. If you suffer from environmental allergies, air purifiers can help alleviate your misery by capturing the spores that attack the immune system and cause watery eyes, scratchy throats, and constricted airways. And fewer allergies means a better night’s sleep for all.
When it comes to ideal sleeping conditions, it really comes down to the individual. For some people, a white noise player and humidifier are the perfect duo to ensure deep slumber year-round, while others may simply want a bit of nighttime relief during allergy season. Luckily, there are countless options, and the right combination can make the elusive magic of sleep—and its health benefits—a reality.
Written by Amy Lynch
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