Since as long as I can remember, I've needed a fan on to help me sleep. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of winter, the idea of sleeping without the fan on freaks me out. My mom used to get frustrated with me because I'd insist the fan stay on, even if we had the air conditioning on!
Even when I moved to university, I had to get myself a small fan to keep on my bedside table. People thought I was crazy, but I couldn't sleep otherwise!
As it turns out though, I'm not the only person who needs to sleep with the fan on.
"People who sleep with a fan are capitalizing on what we call white noise. Just like white light, which encompasses all the colors on the spectrum, white noise encompasses all sound frequencies within typical human hearing," explained sleep expert Kelsey Allan. "Technically, true white noise is generated only electronically, but ambient noises like fans, distant cicadas, or gentle rain can produce a similar effect."
This holds true for me! I need the extra bit of noise to stop myself from laying in darkness.
Aside from white noise, there are some legitimate benefits to sleeping with your ceiling fan on.
In order to get a good night's sleep, your body needs to cool down. You'll notice that on hot, humid nights, you might find it harder to get some shut eye.
"Your normal body temperature of 97.8 degrees [36.5 Celsius] (not 98.6) drops by 1-2 degrees at night. If you have to struggle to lower your body temperature, this can decrease your sleep quality, " Dr. Kevin Gaffney says.
That's why sleeping with a fan on can make your sleeping schedule much better.
Proper air circulation is crucial in preventing mold and musty smells in your home. It's much easier to sleep (and breathe!) when the air around you is clean and new. By having a ceiling fan, you can rest easy knowing that you'll be breathing in fresh air.
Just make sure that you clean your ceiling fan frequently, especially if you have pets. Otherwise dust and dander will start to build up on the blades.
The Side Effects
Even though they'll probably never stop me from sleeping with the fan on, there are some side effects to the common appliance staying on overnight.
Fans do dry out the air, which can lead to nose and throat problems. If you've ever woken up in the middle of the night and felt like you needed a glass of water, this is probably why.
Though it's not necessarily serious, over time dry mouths and gums can cause problems with your gums and teeth.
Again, because of dry air, your sinuses can be affected by your fan. When you breathe in dry air, your mucous membrane that lines your nose becomes irritated. The membrane will then try to produce more mucous in order to counteract the dryness, which in turn leads to blockages, build-ups, and sinus pressure.
You may wake up one morning with a kink in your neck and think "I must have slept funny last night." The reality is, your muscles have most likely tensed up from being exposed to cooler air for an extended period of time.
To avoid this, try and direct the air away from your body. It will still cool down the room, but you won't feel the same stiffness in the morning.
If you don't keep a tidy fan, or a tidy house for that matter, then a fan could make your asthma and allergy problems even worse. Instead of circulating clean air, it will end up circulating allergens that otherwise may have laid dormant.
But can it kill you?
There are a lot of people who believe the urban legend that sleeping with the fan on can kill you. One theory is that the fan cuts up the oxygen in the air, turning it into carbon dioxide. Once this happens, apparently you can suffocate and die.
This is FALSE. Unless you're sleeping in an air-tight room with absolutely no ventilation, you cannot suffocate due to your ceiling fan.
Another theory is that the fan will make it so cold in your room you'll get hypothermia and, you guessed it, die.
This is also FALSE. Fans don't actually create cooler air, they just circulate what is already present. Your ceiling fan isn't an air conditioner, and I can guarantee it won't make the room so cold that you'll get hypothermia.
In the end, it's all based on your personal preference. But if you've noticed sore muscles or a dry throat in the morning, your fan could be why.