How Sleeping With A Fan On At Night Affects Asthma

Brandi Neal / Bustle

If you have asthma, you have more trouble breathing at night, and it's gotten worse during the summer heatwave, you might be wondering if sleeping with the fan on is bad for your asthma. And, if you don't have central air, and your apartment is as hot as hell's mouth, the idea of sleeping sans fan probably sounds downright dreadful. Unfortunately, ceiling and table fans can both trigger asthma symptoms at night, especially if you also have your windows open.

On its website, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia noted that electric fans and open windows can increase the pollen count in your room, which could lead to more asthma problems at night. If installing a window-unit air conditioner is an option, the hospital cited that as the best solution because air conditioners actually filter dust and pollen out of your room. According to WebMD, asthma is an "inflammation of the air passages that results in a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. This results in asthma symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness."

If you have fans going all night long, allergens that cause symptoms get swirled around in the air before you eventually breathe them in, which makes the inflammation worse. If you've been waking up with more asthma symptoms this summer, and your fan is your seasonal BAE, it might be time to reexamine your relationship with your fan.

If you can't install an air conditioner, and sleeping without a fan is simply not an option, aggressive cleaning on the regular can help, but it won't solve the problem entirely. "No matter how clean and tidy you keep your room, there is always sneaky dust particles or pollen insistent on sticking around. This dust and pollen can attach itself to the fan blades which will circulate the air once switched on," the London Allergy & Immunology Centre explained on its blog.

"So when you’re sleeping, those nasties are being blown right at your face. You might be okay, but if you find that your eyes are itchy or if you experience any other symptoms, you should probably keep the fan switched off. If you can’t bear the heat, try cleaning the fan blades before you go to sleep." Yes, you have to clean your fan every day. If you have table fans instead of ceiling fans, make sure to select a type that easy to take apart to clean.

If you don't think things can get dusty and dirty in 24 hours, go dust your coffee table and take a look at the paper towel. If you live in an urban area, you're probably going to be horrified because the air in most cities is filthy AF. If you do have asthma, and you don't take the time to clean daily, all of that dust and dirt is going right into your lungs.

In order to minimize the amount of time you need to spend cleaning, furnish your room with the bare minimum. All you really need is a bed and a bedside table. If you have carpeting, vacuum it every night before you go to bed. If you have wood or tile floors, get out that dust-magnet-sweeper thing and swish it around the room daily. Don't forget to sweep under the bed too.

"Keeping your bedroom free of summer allergens could drastically help you reduce your symptoms," the London Allergy & Immunology Centre noted. "You can do this by changing your bedding regularly and by ensuring that clothes hampers are moved to another room; you could even change out of clothes in other rooms to avoid your room being full of pollen."

Additionally, keep your windows closed. Using an air filter in your room can also help reduce indoor allergens that aggravate your asthma. As far as keeping the sun from baking your bedroom all day long, you're going to need something to block the heat. However, not all window treatments are created equal, and choosing an asthma friendly option is important.

"Avoid heavy curtains and Venetian or mini-blinds. Use window shades instead. If curtains are used, they should be washed monthly in hot water," Johns Hopkins Medicine said on its website. If you have pets, you're probably going to keep those four-legged family members out of your room too.

It's also a good idea to sleep at home as much as possible during the summer where you can control your environment. If you do have air conditioning and you're attached to your fan because it provides that glorious white noise, apps like Simply Noise can deliver the same sounds without triggering your asthma symptoms.

Good grief, this all sounds like a lot of work. However, if you get busy decluttering, adopt a regular cleaning routine, and keep in mind that a little extra effort can improve your sleep quality and lower your chances of waking up wheezing, it's definitely worth it. #TheMoreYouKnow