Air conditioning is an absolute blessing within the home, especially when you live or work in a hot climate. Having a continuous breeze of cool air can not only help to maintain your health but also keep you comfortable in general.
However, while the vast majority of people turn the AC on during the day when the sun is at its brightest, some remain unsure of the most sensible practices for night-time use. So, should your air conditioning be on while you sleep?
Let’s first talk about the ideal temperature for your bedroom
In terms of a safe temperature, you should be aiming for 18.3°C (give or take 1 or 2 degrees) to ensure that your body is not too hot and not too cold.
Is it healthy to have your AC on while you sleep?
Our body’s natural internal temperature shifts over a 24h period is known as the circadian rhythm. According to this rhythm, your body naturally drops by a few degrees at night, reaching its lowest temperature by 4.30/5 am.
Because of this, our bodies often find it difficult to sleep in warm conditions as they are used and naturally meant to drop a few degrees during sleeping hours. Therefore, some experts even recommend that you sleep with the AC on.
Watch out for the health effect
While it is more than safe to sleep with the AC on, there are a number of health effects that you should keep an eye on.
There are a few things that, if ignored, can have an impact on your body and your general health. If you blast your AC, your body temperature will drop more than what’s it’s meant to at night and you risk to catch a cold.
Try, check and adjust
When you wake up in the morning after enjoying a night of cool air from the air conditioning unit, be sure to conduct some brief checks. Take a moment to explore your breathing – do you feel stuffy?
Is it harder to breathe than normal? Does your throat or nose feel irritated?
Ultimately you are doing this to help you sleep better, so adjust the temperature till you find the sweet spot.
Is you air getting drier?
While sleeping with the AC on is definitely more comfortable, it can also remove some of the moisture from the air. In turn, this can make it slightly harder for you to breathe throughout the night, leaving you stuffy or sore in the morning.
Not only this, but the AC can also dry out your skin for the same reasons, which provides another reason to monitor your AC usage closely.
If the benefits do not outweigh the negatives, potentially find another way to cool down at night.
Checks and maintain your units and filters
Finally, it is vitally important to keep the AC unit itself as clean as possible, with regular dusting and cleaning. Without this, dust, bacteria, and germs can nestle within the unit, spreading around the room as soon as you turn it on. Of course, this can then have a negative effect on your health.
Does having your AC on at night impact on your quality of sleep?
If you are struggling to sleep when the weather is really warm, it should help.
A study conducted in 2012 has highlighted that the temperature of the room you sleep has the most impact on the quality of your sleep. While the AC function itself will likely not have an impact on your sleep, as the whole point is to cool the room down enough to make you comfortable, there are some things worth mentioning.
However, be wary of white noise
If you own an older model of air conditioning unit or a malfunctioning device, you may find that it makes a noticeable noise. While the temperature drop will likely make you tired, this noise could well keep you up well into the night. One easy solution, beyond shelling out for a new machine, is to pre-cool the room an hour before you go to bed. That way you don’t have to keep it running all night.
You may also find that your body makes a subconscious connection between the sound and feel of the AC and sleep itself. This means that, by the time the colder months roll around, you could find it hard to drift off to sleep without the familiar AC. However, your body will simply adjust automatically eventually.
Does having your AC on at night impact your immune system?
There is a slight risk that having the AC on at night can negatively impact your immune system, but only if you are setting it at the wrong temperature.
As mentioned earlier, your body naturally drops by a few degrees at night, meaning that a freezing burst from the AC unit may leave you too cold.
A colder body can weaken your immune system, as well as hindering its ability to produce certain hormones.
This can also be exasperated by a poorly-cleaned AC unit if it is spreading dust, germs, and bacteria around the room.
The solution is simple, keep the AC unit clean and play around with the temperature settings until you find one that is just cool enough to help you sleep.
Is it safe to have your AC on while you sleep?
Sleeping with the air conditioning running has been deemed safe by a number of experts, meaning that you are able to keep cool at night without any worries.
Is it energy efficient to have your AC on while you sleep?
Let’s be honest, there is no way that having the AC unit running all night is more energy-efficient than not having it running.
However, you can look to be more energy-efficient than normal if you set the AC to sleep mode or some other form of energy-saving mode.
This ensures that the unit keeps running throughout the night, but uses less energy than it normally would in the day.
How to cool off without using your AC at night
There are a number of ways to cool off without using your AC all night.
As we mentioned before, pre-cooling the room an hour before you go to bed is a great way to help yourself drift off without using the AC all night.
Opening windows in your bedroom can also create a more natural cooling effect around the room, thus saving on energy and money.
Beyond this, you can try sleeping with a cold water bottle, thinner sheets or doonas made to be used during certain seasons.