This is why sleeping with a fan on during the heatwave is harmful to your health

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 10:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 11:52 am

The hot summer temperatures in the UK may be nice during the day, but when evening falls, the humid nights can make getting a restful sleep especially difficult.

And with temperatures forecast to soar as high as the mid 30s in some parts of the country this week, sleeping isn't going to get any easier.

In an effort to stem the hot temperatures, many people will turn to using a fan in their bedroom at night to create a cooling breeze. But while it may be a popular and effective method, sleeping with a fan on can actually be bad for your health.

A trigger for allergies

According to Sleep Advisor, keeping a fan on at night can trigger a number of health problems, thanks to the air flow blowing flurries of dust and pollen around the room.

These particles will enter your sinuses, which can be particularly troublesome for those who suffer with asthma, hay fever and other similar allergies.

Fans can blow flurries of dust and pollen around the room, triggering allergies, asthma and hay fever (Photo: Shutterstock)

Dust and pollen may also collect on your fan, meaning the particles are continually spreading through the air every time it is switched on.

Drying the air

As well as proving hazardous for allergy sufferers, the constant blast of cool air on your body can result in dry skin.

While using moisturisers can help to prevent this, those prone to excessively dry skin should use caution and be wary of not over drying it.

But it's not just the skin that will suffer. Some people sleep with their eyes partially open, meaning a steady airstream can cause the eyes to dry out and lead to major irritation. This is particularly problematic for those who wear contact lenses while sleeping.

If you sleep with your mouth open, the excess airflow can also be drying to both the mouth and throat.

Headaches and muscle soreness

If the dryness in the air is extreme when using a fan, your body can produce excess mucus in an effort to compensate, making you more susceptible to sinus headaches, blockages and stuffiness as a result.

Muscle soreness is also another unpleasant side effect.

Muscle soreness is another unpleasant side effect of leaving a fan on at night (Photo: Shutterstock)

The concentrated cool air and direct breeze on the body throughout the night can cause muscles to tense up and cramp, leading to stiffness in a morning.

This is especially common among those who sleep with the fan close to their face or neck.

A solution for keeping cool?

While it can trigger a number of negative health problems, sleeping with a fan on at night can help you get a more restful night's sleep when the weather is warm.

An effective compromise is opting for a fan that has a timer, meaning you can dose off more easily and set the device to turn off later in the night, avoiding dryness and stiffness on a morning.

Alternatively, the NHS advise shutting the windows and pulling down the shades when it is hot during the day, and opening them for ventilation when it is cooler.

Rooms can be kept cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows, and keeping light-coloured curtains closed.

Taking a cool bath or shower before bed can also help to cool the body down, along with loose, cool clothing for sleeping.

Avoiding excess alcohol, caffeine and sugar-rich drinks is also advised to help you get a good night's sleep.