You probably know that sleep is critical for wellness. But did you know that researchers now directly link air quality with sleep quality? This article uncovers those connections and provides all the info you need to sleep better than ever.
Why air quality affects sleep quality
What’s the secret to deep and restful sleep? A quality mattress, fresh and breathable bedding, time away from electronic devices, ideal temperature and darkness? Those are all important, but there’s one key element that’s often overlooked when it comes to a good night’s sleep: clean air.
It’s time to get real about what you’re breathing at night and how it's affecting your rest.
Sleep is a precious commodity, especially as we pack more into our busy schedules. Yet good sleep is truly elusive for many people, especially allergy and asthma sufferers.
One thing is clear: the worse your air, the worse your sleep. A peer-reviewed study by the American Thoracic Society establishes a direct connection between air polluted by fine particles and sleep disruption. The study even connects prolonged exposure to dirty air with the onset of sleep apnea, a serious medical condition.
“It seemed likely that air pollution was detrimental to sleep, given that air pollution causes upper airway irritation, swelling, and congestion,” said Dr. Martha Billings, the study's lead author.
“It may also affect the parts of the brain and central nervous system that control breathing patterns and sleep."
What happens when you clean your air? In a peer-reviewed study by SleepScore Labs study, 93% of users said adding an Alen BreatheSmart 45i HEPA purifier helped them sleep better and wake feeling fresher. More about that later. First, let's talk about why deep sleep is necessary for wellness.
How Sleep Impacts Health
The National Sleep Foundation recommends a minimum of seven to eight hours of deep sleep per night. This, they say, will help keep your immune system in fighting shape and also protect you from other health issues.
“You can’t perform at your best unless you give your body time to rejuvenate during sleep,” says Rachel Salas, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even declared the lack of sleep a national public health epidemic.
“Deep sleep is critical for long-term health as well as aspects of daily wellbeing like mood, productivity, and immune system strength,” says the CDC.
And prolonged lack of sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions—including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
Why Does Poor Air Quality Cause Poor Sleep Quality?
Short answer: Allergies and irritation. It all comes down to the funky particles floating around your bedroom and what happens when you inhale them.
Between 20% and 50% of Americans experience allergy symptoms that can affect sleep quality, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). In non-allergy sufferers, symptoms identical to allergies were also triggered by household dust, pollution from outdoor air, and lingering particles released by cooking and cleaning.
“When you breathe in something that you’re allergic to, the allergen irritates your nasal passage, leading to congestion, sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose,” according to the National Sleep Foundation.“The more severe your symptoms, the lower the quality of your shuteye.”
These are the top four sleep-disrupting irritants, according to the NSF. Chances are you’ve got more than a few of these in your bedroom.
- Dust mites: Bed and pillows are common homes for dust mites (they feed off the dead skin cells that you shed while you sleep). Adding a simple dust mite cover to your mattress and pillows can work wonders, as can regularly washing your bedding in hot water.
- Mold: Dampness can lead to mold, which is especially important if your bedroom has an attached bathroom. Avoid this by keeping the air moving in your bathroom—whether it’s by using the exhaust fan or opening a window.
- Pet dander: Whether you have a cat or a dog, flakes of their dead skin (aka dander) can be a common irritant. If you’re allergic, keep pets off furniture (especially your bed) and vacuum regularly. A weekly bath and brushing for your furry friend can also reduce dander.
- Pollen: This allergen tends to peak seasonally in the spring and the fall. While you might need to take allergy medications to reduce symptoms, remember that pseudoephedrine can keep you awake, and antihistamines can make you drowsy during the day.
Our Secret to Better Sleep: Pure Air & Pink Noise
Ready to start sleeping better? Let’s start breathing better. We can’t keep you off your phone or upgrade your mattress, but we are experts at improving your air. And if you value sleep, it’s a step you can’t skip.
“Air quality improvements may have an unrecognized benefit: better sleep health,” according to the American Thoracic Society.
For deeper sleep, removing airborne irritants is the key. To do that, you need a purifier that’s powerful enough to effectively circulate clean air throughout your bedroom yet quiet enough to let you rest.
Alen has purifiers carefully designed for bedrooms of all sizes. Our BreatheSmart line runs up to 200% quieter than competitors. More importantly, they are tuned to emit soothing pink noise—a frequency proven to improve sleep by up to 25%.
Alen has the best purifiers for sleep. And we’ve got the proof to back it up.
SleepScore Labs, makers of the world's leading sleep-monitoring technology, recently selected Alen’s entire BreatheSmart lines as the only air purifiers to earn its coveted SleepScore Validation.
In 2019, SleepScore conducted a 634-night study in the homes of 27 allergy sufferers. It concluded that “the 45i can improve sleep and allergy symptoms in people with seasonal allergies.” Other key study findings include:
- 20% faster time falling asleep
- 96% reported improved their allergy symptoms
- 100% would recommend Alen to their close friends and family
As the first study of its kind linking True HEPA purifier use to objectively-measured sleep improvements for allergy sufferers, it was published in the peer reviewed scientific journal SLEEP, and presented at SLEEP 2020, the nation's most prestigious sleep science conference.
A second SleepScore study in 2020 confirmed these results, this time monitoring 40 healthy people over more than 1,500 nights. It concluded that 81% of participants reported improved sleep quality with data showing:
- Improved sleep efficiency - More of the time in bed was spent actually sleeping, and participants woke up feeling more rested.
- Less time awake – Participants fell asleep 30% faster and reported over 7 hours of sleep on average with 50% reporting waking up less often.
- Overall healthier home - Over 70% reported improvement in perceived indoor air quality, like a reduction in odors, dust, and mold and 86% would recommend Alen to family & friends.
How to Find the Best HEPA Air Purifier for Bedrooms
There are three simple factors that make an air purifier ideal for creating a healthy sleeping environment. Alen's top-rated purifiers embody all three:
- Medical Grade Filtration: Antimicrobial True HEPA (H13) filters capture 99.99% of airborne contaminants down to 0.1 microns—including allergens, dust, mold, bacteria, aerosolized viruses, and more.
- Quiet Yet Powerful Airflow: Combining high CADR (clean air delivery rate) with ultra-low noise levels, Alen BreatheSmart purifiers refresh your bedroom's air multiple times per hour.
- Pink Noise for Enhanced Rest: Every BreatheSmart purifier is tuned to emit a soothing pink-noise frequency (deeper than white noise) proven to improve sleep by up to 25%.
What Real Customers Say about Alen Air Purifier for Sleep
And we’re not the only ones who think highly of Alen HEPA air purifiers when it comes to sleep. Take it from these real customer reviews:
"This filter and the air purifier have been fantastic. I am breathing and sleeping much better!" - Thomas L.
"I am so pleased with the simplicity and effectiveness of the BreatheSmart 45i Air Purifier. I am able to sleep more soundly. I feel physically sharper. Thanks." -Michael N.
"Love love love my air purifier. Bedroom air is wonderful. Purchased the same air purifier for my daughter. She states she is breathing better. She also loves her air purifier. Love the pink noise to fall asleep. Searched several air purifiers. This air purifier was the BEST." -Sherry G.
"The BreatheSmart 45i Air Purifier was easy to use straight out the box...The purifier is elegant and fits in with the furniture. It works efficiently, it took only 10 minutes to clean the air (i.e. go from red to blue indicator light) in my bedroom (220 sq ft), and this was at a time when the air quality was extremely bad due to the wildfires to the north of us in California. It's also very quiet on the slowest fan speed, hardly noticeable, which is great for a very light sleeper like me." -Tonya B.
Three Bonus Tips for Superb Sleep
1. Invest in your mattress
When it comes to choosing a mattress, it’s all about preference. BestReviews.com, a top source of independent product testing for Amazon, has a comprehensive guide to mattress purchasing. It includes helpful info on when to replace your mattress, sizing, pricing, and key features of the most common mattress types. "If you’re currently experiencing aches, pains, stiffness, or difficulty sleeping, a new mattress may help," writes BestReviews.
2. Lose the light, especially blue light
Sleep experts recommend blackout curtains to block streetlights at night and sunlight in the early morning. “Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature, and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake,” according to the National Sleep Foundation.
But avoiding blue light from electronics is just as important. Sleep Doctor Michael J. Breus explains “after nights of blue-light exposure, participants were more tired during the day and experienced more negative moods.”
Fresh Fact: Alen’s BreatheSmart purifiers have a convenient one-touch “Sleep Mode” that allows you to darken display lighting with one-touch while keeping the unit running.
3. Find a comfortable climate
"The temperature in the bedroom for adults should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. “It can be useful to think of the bedroom as your ‘cave’ — it should be cool, dark, and quiet to enhance your sleep.”
With all these sleep-improving insights, you’re sure to be getting your best rest in no time. When it comes to clean air, our team of experts is standing by to provide all of the guidance and answers you might need to find the perfect purifier, no matter where you lay your head to rest. Sweet dreams!