Is Sleeping With A Fan On Bad For You? It Actually Depends On Several Factors

Brandi Neal / Bustle

It's summer. It's hot and humid. Maybe you don't have air conditioning and you sleep with a few fans blowing on you at night. In fact, sleeping without fans under these conditions sounds downright bananas. However, recent reports have posed the question: Is sleeping with a fan on bad for you? The answer actually depends on several factors, which means if you do rely on a fan to get you through the night, you can still use it under the right conditions.

According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, if you have severe nasal allergies or asthma, sleeping with a fan on can make your symptoms worse. This happens because fans collect dust and dirt and recirculate it into the air. What's more, they also stir up dust in your room that's hiding on surfaces, under your bed, and collecting in corners.

While using an air conditioner is ideal, you can still use your fan if you clean it regularly and make sure you sweep, dust, and mop your room as often as possible, especially if you have dogs and cats that sleep in your room. However, no matter what you do, your fan actually isn't trying to kill you, and when used properly, there is no real health risk to using a fan at night.


"There's nothing about a fan that's toxic," Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Live Science. "There's nothing wrong with circulating air." Horovitz recommended turning the fan at angle so it's not blowing directly on you, using an air filter, and regularly irrigating your sinuses with saline nasal wash, which you can get at any drug store.

In other words, if you have allergies, and you want to keep using your beloved fan, it's time to turn yourself into Monica Gellar from Friends. This means embracing cleaning as part of your daily routine, and investing in a quality vacuum. If you clean a little every day, it actually takes no time at all, and it doesn't become overwhelming because you haven't saved it all up for one day. Make sure to wash your bedding, including your pillows, often. If you have carpet and pets, vacuuming every day is a good idea.

You'll also want to dust surfaces, especially your night table. If you have wood floors, they need to be swept and mopped regularly. Cleaning your fan is also super important, especially if you have pets. Go ahead, take a look at the back of your fan and peek inside at the blades. If you have a ceiling fan, run your finger across the top of it.


Gross, right? If you have a free-standing fan, dusting the outside of it — front and back — can help. You can also take it apart, most fans are easy to disassemble with a screwdriver, and throughly dust and disinfect the blades on the inside of the fan a couple of times each summer. The blades on ceiling fans should be cleaned a few times a week to reduce the amount of dust being recirculated into the air.

Have blinds on your windows? You're going to have to dust those, too. By being proactive, you can keep using your fan because the alternative is sweating all night long, which not only disrupts your sleep, it also leaves your sheets wet and smelly. Whatever option you choose, cleaning is involved — either to remove dust so you can continue using your fan, or because you have to wash your sheets and pajamas a lot more often due to excessive sweating. And, sweating all night can lead to mild dehydration, which makes a solid case for cleaning being the better option.

No matter which way you look at it, there's really no way around this whole cleaning thing if you have allergies that are exacerbated by your fan. If you're feeling meh about cleaning, it actually has some psychological benefits. Medical Daily reported that cleaning can serve as a form of mindfulness meditation, which can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you think about it, doing a little extra cleaning is a win-win. Your fan won't aggravate your allergies, and you'll feel more relaxed. Who doesn't want that?