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.
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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
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.
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.
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.