How Air Quality Affects Your Sleep

Friday May 15th, 2020

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Relaxation techniques, routines, diet, and exercise are all critical factors for getting a good night’s sleep. But there’s something else that may be affecting your sleep: air quality.

Outdoor Air Quality

We know that outdoor air quality impacts our health. That’s why weather forecasters include the current and anticipated air quality conditions in their daily weather forecasts. It is well known that air pollutants negatively impact heart, lung, and cancer disease levels.

We also know that chronic sleep disruption and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are associated with hypertension, stroke, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and cardiac death.

So, what's the connection between the two?

Air Quality and Sleep Apnea

A 2017 study by the American Thoracic Society found a correlation between outdoor air quality and obstructive sleep apnea. This study demonstrated that the study group living in areas with high levels of air pollution were 60 percent more likely to sleep poorly than those living in areas with healthier air quality.

Since air pollution is known to cause upper airway irritation, swelling, and congestion, it was judged likely to affect sleep negatively. The study also concluded that air pollution (toxins) might affect the parts of the brain and central nervous system that control breathing patterns and sleep.

Okay, but what about toxins in your home?

Indoor Air Quality

It turns out indoor air can have higher concentrations of toxins than outdoor air. This makes sense since sources of indoor pollution have nowhere to go, remaining trapped inside.

While there are certainly other types of indoor toxins, in this short article, we’re only going to focus on one of the offending categories: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).


VOCs are chemicals that vaporize easily when a product is used, and sometimes even passively. According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be two to five times higher in indoor air than outdoor air. This is because they are present in most household products, including:

What can you do to improve your indoor air quality and help you get a good night’s sleep? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

5 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Ventilate. Keep the air circulating!

Keep areas as dry as possible. Don't let moist areas stay that way.

Place houseplants throughout the home, keeping out of the reach of small children and pets.

Use natural products as much as possible, substituting as you use up a product.

Switch to all-natural bedding and materials in the bedroom.

How to Stay Asleep

Do what you can to reduce the number of toxins in your home, knowing you likely can’t get rid of all of them. We can’t eliminate those toxins for you, but we can help with your snoring!

sleep connection box

The Sleep Connection Watch is a scientifically designed pulse wristband that will help you sleep through the night. The state-of-the-art technology behind our sleep apnea wristband will automatically sense your loud snoring and emit a gentle pulse that encourages you to change sleeping positions, all without waking you up.