The Pros & Cons of Sleeping With a Fan On

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A ceiling fan directly over a bed can dry out the air.
A ceiling fan directly over a bed can dry out the air. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The buzzing of a nearby fan lulls an insomniac to sleep, but there are side effects that could affect his health. The circulation produced by a fan dries the air and has the potential to irritate the sinuses. However, the age of the sleeper makes a big difference in the outcome of these side effects, as a fan's circulation may help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. So, the pros and cons of sleeping with a fan are specific for each sleeper.

Noise

A fan can help neutralize other minor noises so you can sleep easier.
A fan can help neutralize other minor noises so you can sleep easier. (Image: Svetlana Khvorostova/Hemera/Getty Images)

The noise emitted from a fan neutralizes minor noises that become nuisances at bedtime. A person who is easily disturbed by minor noises benefits from having a consistent fan buzzing in the room. A small fan kept on low is sufficient, as anything bigger will increase the likelihood of other side effects.

Sudden Infant Death Prevention

Fans help decrease the risk of infant death syndrome.
Fans help decrease the risk of infant death syndrome. (Image: Lusyaya/iStock/Getty Images)

In 2008, a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, a health care management group, found that a fan in an infant's room decreases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome by 70 percent. The ventilation is thought to help dissipate the carbon dioxide exhaled by the baby before she has a chance to reinhale. Researchers continue to study the importance of sleeping environment on infant health.

Dry Air

A humidifier keeps the room moist.
A humidifier keeps the room moist. (Image: Alexander Den/iStock/Getty Images)

A fan dries the air. When a sleeper breathes in dry air, the mouth and trachea become dry, leading to intense thirst that prevents a good night's sleep. So, the noise may sooth a person to sleep, but the dryness wakes him up. A humidifier is a good alternative; it provides consistent noise and keeps the air moist.

Sinuses

Keep fans dust free by cleaning them frequently.
Keep fans dust free by cleaning them frequently. (Image: Mindy Chung Wai Meng/iStock/Getty Images)

Fans that are not used during the day tend to collect dust. A dust-covered fan blowing toward a sleeper's head has the potential to clog the sinuses. This problem is easily adverted by keeping fans dust free and cleaning out filters on filtered air systems.

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