Using a humidifier while you sleep can provide a multitude of benefits to your overall sleep quality and health. A study published in the research journal Plos One found that increasing indoor humidity levels to at least 43% had a drastic effect on approximately 85% of airborne viruses, greatly reducing the chance of viruses spreading and the movement of germs. This is especially true for the common cold and flu, as dry air can cause a person to have a dry cough, which can keep you awake at night. Adding moisture to the air allows more moisture to enter the body, making coughing more productive and allowing you to sleep more peacefully.
Skin, lips and hair often become dry and brittle in winter due to low air humidity. This can often cause itchy skin, which can keep you awake at night. According to Harvard Health, dry skin is much more common with age; at least 75% of people over 64 have dry skin. Researchers believe this is because the skin loses its ability to retain moisture over time.
Adding a humidifier to your home can help keep your skin and hair healthy. While humidifiers offer a number of benefits, it's important to monitor the humidity level in your home. Excessive moisture levels can make breathing difficult and worsen some allergy symptoms. Common allergens, including dust mites, mold, and fungi, thrive in humid environments.
According to the EPA, the ideal indoor humidity level should be between 30 and 50%. Humidity levels above 60% are too high. You can easily monitor the humidity in your home with a humidity meter, or some thermostats have this feature built-in automatically for easy monitoring. Maintaining the optimal humidity level increases overall comfort when trying to fall asleep and may help relieve itching or throat irritation.
A humidifier also creates a “white noise” effect while operating during the night which has been shown to help people calm down and fall asleep. Additionally, raising relative humidity to optimal levels while you sleep can improve snoring and increase comfort for people suffering from sleep apnea. Too much phlegm and mucus can cause congestion, coughing, and trouble breathing. A humidifier works by simply releasing water vapor (also known as steam) into the air to increase the overall humidity level of a room, which is especially useful during the winter months, when the air is usually drier; during the hot summer months, if the air conditioner blows up; and generally in the drier parts of the country.
When the humidifier device emits steam, the mineral deposits that remain on the surfaces create a thin white coating that looks like a white powder. If you wake up with a dry mouth, chances are you have low humidity in your home and you should consider investing in a humidifier. Using a humidifier while you sleep in summer helps alleviate symptoms of dry air, as well as seasonal allergies. However, if you live in a place where it's hot enough to justify running the air conditioner when you sleep, which dehumidifies the air, your skin is likely to benefit from sleeping with a humidifier nearby anyway.
Humidifiers are effective in preventing moisture loss from the skin because when less moisture is present, air can sometimes draw moisture through the skin. Placing an ultrasonic humidifier too close to the bed can cause steam from the humidifier to moisten sheets, pillows, or comforter. If you've ever thought that having a humidifier turned on in your room helps you sleep better, it might not be your imagination. Placing a humidifier in your room can help you avoid the negative symptoms of low humidity and improve your nighttime nap.
The growth of mites and mold is more promoted in humid environments, so if people are allergic to dust and mold or if they have asthma, using a humidifier could aggravate these conditions. With too much moisture in your home, you also risk developing mold or bacteria on walls, curtains or anything in the direct line of humidifier vapor.