At night, just a few moments before you sleep, a lot of things come to your mind. This is especially true for parents.
You run a mental perimeter check on your head. Are the doors locked? Is the baby monitor working properly?
The Invisible Threat
One thing that you might not worry about is the indoor air quality in your home. After all, it’s invisible. Unlike a locked door, there are no physical signs to indicate whether the air is safe or not. Unfortunately, the air quality of your bedroom can make a huge difference in your sleep quality.
Yes, we know that air pollution is bad for our health. Usually though, our thoughts about air pollution is limited to the outside environment – dark smoke coming from industrial factories, second-hand smoke in public places and smoke from poorly maintained vehicles. We know exposure to these smokes can trigger short-term and long-term illnesses.
Air pollution actually affects one of the most important human activities – sleep. Many studies have already proven this. In fact, Antonella Zanobetti, PhD, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health found that air pollution also increases the risk of poor sleep and sleep-disordered breathing such as apnea. Sleep quality is greatly affected when you suffer from these conditions.
People who have sleep apnea or kids with asthma are more vulnerable to breathing problems. This creates a domino effect: Poor indoor air leads to poor sleep. Poor sleep weakens the immune system, leaving both adults and kids vulnerable to a host of illnesses.
So, what can you do in order to ensure that the air in your home is safe? Here are a few simple things you can do:
- Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your house. If you smoke, make sure to do it outside. Also, when guests come over, make sure to establish clear and strict rules about smoking in the house.
- Get rid of scented products. Though these smell good, these products are usually infused with harmful chemicals that can worsen the quality of the air in your home.
- Never take your air ducts for granted. Clean and change the filters regularly. If you have forced-air heating systems at home, seal off the vents in the nursery room.
- During high-pollen days, turn on the air conditioning. If you must open your windows, do so before 5 a.m. According to KidsHealth.org, pollen counts are “usually highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m”.
- Remove or limit the use of carpets in the nursery room, as it attracts high amounts of particulate matter or dust.
Doing these simple steps can significantly improve your home’s indoor air quality. The better the air, the better quality of sleep you and your family get.