Proper Humidity Levels for Better Sleep

At first glance, it may seem like humidity is inconsequential to a good night’s sleep, however; high humidity can increase wakefulness and reduce the amount of time you spend in both slow-wave NREM and REM sleep, both of which are sleep stages that are crucial for your overall health. While sleepers in high humidity may experience additional issues related to memory consolidation and body recovery, alternatively, exposure to excessively low humidity can cause health problems such as dry skin, itchy eyes, and a sore throat. Low humidity is also linked to respiratory infection.

Humidity can also impact sleep in indirect ways. Extreme or excessive dampness may aggravate asthma symptoms and can also lead to bronchitis, respiratory infections, and other breathing problems that can cause sleep disruptions. Allergens that generate adverse reactions from sleepers are another cause of concern. Mold flourishes in humid environments, as do dust mites (small creatures that typically dwell in mattresses and box springs). Humidity also causes some people to sweat excessively, making lying in bed unpleasant.

Although proper humidity for sleeping and other indoor activities has been debated, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the best indoor relative humidity falls between 30% and 50%, and it should never exceed 60%. While other studies suggest 40% to 60% is a better range; nonetheless, 60% seems to be the agreed-upon threshold for indoor humidity.

You should also ensure the thermostat in your bedroom is set at the right setting for your optimal comfort. Experts at the Sleep Foundation agree the ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). This might sound too cold to some, however; 65 degrees aligns with the natural drop in body temperature that occurs during sleep and will keep your body from overheating.

If 65 degrees won’t work for you, the generally accepted temperature range for sleep is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius).

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