(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Do I Need an Air Purifier with “Sleep Mode”?

air filter for pet allergies from dogs

By Molly Van Guilder

12 min read

While you might be aware of how important sleep is to your health, one thing you might not know is the link between sleep quality and air quality. A recent study indicates that when a room has poor ventilation and a higher level of airborne pollutants, sleep is negatively affected significantly.  In particular, bedrooms have a high rate of allergens like dust, pet, human dander, mold, and other bacteria. These alone can cause respiratory irritations that result in a fitful night’s sleep. One way to combat poor indoor air quality while you rest can be using an air purifier in your bedroom. Many of today’s best air purifiers come equipped with a “sleep mode” setting, which allows all of the benefits of having an air purifier improving the quality of air in your bedroom while cutting down on other issues that might defeat the purpose and keep you awake.  Here’s some vital information on how you can find an air purifier that works while you sleep. 

Can Air Purifiers Improve Your Sleep?

With many of us still somewhat housebound in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the quality of the environment inside our homes has never been more important. With many of us working and attending school from our houses, our homes deal with more people in closer quarters, using more devices daily, and consuming more electricity and gas than ever before. This can all lead to an increase in internal air pollutants and allergens, not to mention stress, making a good night’s rest that much more vital to our overall health and well-being. 

Indoor air quality plays a significant role in that. As mentioned previously, studies indicate that one of the biggest enemies to a decent night’s rest is indoor air quality. Sleep research tells us that disturbances in our breathing patterns and body temperature changes are the two biggest reasons we wake up frequently during the night. 

Think about how many times you wake up with a mild sore throat or the dreaded post-nasal drip. The likely culprit for these ailments comes from the number of air particulates and allergens floating around your bed while you try to get some shut-eye. Additionally, mattresses and pillows are two of the biggest allergen traps in your home. For example, an average used queen-sized mattress contains about 100,000 to 10 million dust particles and dust mites, which impacts our health. We are never closer to those respiratory-system enemies than when we sleep. This is why eliminating them from our indoor air is very necessary. 

Additionally, if you find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night for short periods, the cause could be either body or room temperature fluctuations. Studies show that our body temperatures rise as much as two degrees right before we wake up, and this is why sleep experts recommend keeping our bedrooms slightly cooler than the rest of our homes. 

These are two reasons why having a quality air purifier in our bedrooms is crucial. An air purifier that contains a certified HEPA filter removes roughly 99.97 percent of airborne allergens and other harmful particulates in a room, keeping them out of our airways, allowing us to sleep undisturbed by things that float in the night. Additionally, air purifiers move the air around in a room throughout the time we sleep, helping to keep our sleep environments at favorable temperatures so we can rest without interruption.  

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To White Noise, Pink Noise, or Not To Noise at All

If you’re one of the 40 percent of Americans who feels they sleep more soundly when there is consistent background noise in your bedroom, an air purifier with pink noise is a best-bet. Many people use small appliances like fans, white noise sound machines (that offer various sounds like thunderstorms or sea waves crashing), or even mobile apps that play soothing bedtime stories to help them sleep better. This is especially helpful for people who live in noisy, urban areas. Having a consistent, steady noise source in their rooms helps them shut out life’s ambient sounds in the city as they sleep. 

While many people swear by using white noise to assist in lulling them to a happy place, research by sleep experts is somewhat mixed. A recent article published by the Sleep Foundation found that 44 percent of adults and 51 percent of children could shorten the onset of sleep time when having some deflecting, constant sound emitted in their bedrooms.

Some air purifiers also have a feature called “pink noise.”  Pink noise is a deeper, more base-like sound that comes from a lower frequency. Some studies have shown that pink noise positively affects sleep, and some air purifiers say it can boost sleep by about 25 percent. 

While the sound of most air purifiers is considered white noise, many air purifiers also come equipped with something called “sleep mode.”  Air purifiers with a special sleep mode feature are great because the purifier still performs its essential duties of purifying the air but does so at a lower rate of sound to keep disturbance at a minimum. If the air purifier model you’ve chosen also has a UV light component, these will be dimmed, as well as any lights on the control panel, when using the “sleep mode” option. Many of the more deluxe air purifiers come equipped with a light sensor, so when the ambient light in the bedroom is darker, the purifier will automatically adjust to sleep mode. 

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Why is Sleep Mode a Needed Feature in a Bedroom Air Purifier?

While it might seem like sleep mode isn’t as important of a feature in an air purifier as, say, a top-notch HEPA filter or a carbon filter component, the sleep mode feature can prove to be an extremely valuable option to have.

Nursery: 

Having an air purifier in the nursery offers all the same health benefits as in any other room and then some. Recent pediatric research indicates that infants who have an air purifier in their nurseries are less likely to suffer from upper respiratory illnesses. Air purifiers are also beneficial for young children who are dealing with asthma or pre-asthmatic conditions. Purchasing an air purifier with sleep mode for the nursery is a wise choice as well. The quieter setting will be beneficial for light sleepers, and the lower power settings for lights will ensure nothing disturbs the baby’s essential sleep times.

Shared Bedrooms:

While two people sharing a bedroom might agree on the indoor air quality benefits derived from an air purifier, the noise created could create a situation where one person’s pleasing white noise can be someone else’s distraction. Purchasing an air purifier that has the sleep mode feature allows for the best of both worlds— some air purifier’s even feature built-in, programmable alarms

Common Space:

When it comes to shared spaces in the home, a quiet, inconspicuous air purifier is often the best choice. Whether you and your family are enjoying family movies or game night, you’re entertaining friends, or just curled up on the couch enjoying a good book, an air purifier that does the job with little noise and fanfare is the ideal selection. 

Kitchen:

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house to have an air purifier. How so? Not only are there the usual air pollutants and particulates, but there are also food allergens, gas fumes, ashes, and odors, all components that add up to an air purifier being a must. However, when everyone is relaxing at dinnertime, no one wants to deal with distracting noises or lights. Setting a sleep mode for the kitchen air purifier allows for a relaxed, enjoyable family meal, free of competitive background noise.     

As we continue to adapt to the new normal and spend increasing amounts of time in our homes, time must be as valuable and nurturing as possible. Selecting air purifiers that enhance our indoor air quality and support a pleasant, restful environment is crucial to creating a healthy, peaceful, and positive home life. Air purifiers built in sleep mode functionality will help create a clean, non-invasive environment for you and your family. 

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