If you struggle to sleep soundly, you’re not the only one. In fact, it’s estimated that around a third of us (opens in new tab)will experience problems with our sleep at some point in our lives. Whether it be from lifestyle changes, stress or the long-term effects of COVID-19, these factors can all affect our bedtimes. And while you can learn how to sleep for longer, your sleep environment is as much to blame for your restless nights.
According to The Sleep Association (opens in new tab) , there is a direct link between clean air and quality of sleep. This is because pollutants in the air can lead to serious respiratory problems, and trigger conditions such as asthma.
Once you develop respiratory issues, such as coughing, nasal congestion or a sore throat, these symptoms make it difficult to fall asleep. In addition, seasonal allergies are associated with poor sleep quality, resulting in snoring or constantly waking up in the middle of the night.
"Like other aspects of our health, the quality of the air we breathe can have a significant impact on our sleep" agrees James Wilson, a.k.a. The Sleep Geek (opens in new tab). "The better the quality of the air we breathe the more efficiently your body can work, aiding our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep."
Wash your sheets
Regularly washing your bedding will not only keep it fresh, but help you sleep better. "Invest in a good mattress protector that'll help keep dust and allergens at bay," agrees Alison Baretta, Sleep Editor at Tom's Guide, "and wash your sheets regularly, especially if you have pets who like to lounge on your bed."
So, before you try some of the best sleep apps, improving your air quality might well be the answer for a good night’s slumber once and for all.
Get an air purifier
To eliminate pollutants, one the best air purifiers should make a noticeable difference around your home. "An air purifier could be incredibly useful if you wish to improve the quality of the air in your bedroom, and research has shown having plants in the bedroom can improve our sleep," Wilson says.
Don't want to buy an air purifier? Opening a window, dusting or vacuuming with one of the best vacuum cleaners can also reduce the dust particles floating around in the air.
Things to consider when buying an air purifier
- Consider the size (sq. ft.) of your room, and find one suitable for the space. Generally speaking, the larger the air purifier, the greater the space it can cover, but always refer to the suggested room size.
- Find an air purifier that can filter out specific pollutants to suit your home and needs (allergens, pet hair, dander etc). Refer to the CADR for information on its performance in terms of filtering dust, pollen and smoke.
- Always choose an air purifier that uses a HEPA filter, the gold standard of indoor air purifiers.
- Consider the air purifier’s noise levels (decibels), and choose one which will blend into the background — even when it's on maximum.
- Calculate the air purifier's ongoing maintenance (filter replacement) and electricity costs so you know how much to factor into your budget when buying an air purifier.
Ideally, you should change your pillow every one to two years, or you'll find yourself asking why has my pillow turned yellow? Why not try out this bed-making hack that went viral to make your life easier.