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Better Sleep: Open Windows And Doors Lowers Carbon Dioxide Levels, Provides Ventilation

Sleep researchers in the Netherlands have found that a combination of poor ventilation and a build-up of carbon dioxide during an individual’s sleep period can contribute to restlessness and to not getting the rejuvenation one usually gets after sleeping. The rise in amounts of carbon dioxide, they say, stems from one’s normal respiration. They also found that something as simple as opening a window or door can ameliorate the build-up, improving the ventilation in the room where one is resting and thus producing a more sound and restful sleep.


The Daily Mail reported last week that scientists based in Eindhoven in the Netherlands conducted a five-day sleep experiment where the subjects’ sleep patterns and conditions were monitored so as to study whether or not open or closed windows and doors would have a noticeable impact on the sleep of 17 healthy students. The subjects slept in rooms where the windows or doors were either open or shut, the room temperatures and levels of humidity were monitored for similarity. (Note: participants adjusted room temperatures for personal comfort and wore attire adjusted to temperature comfort level.) Subjects also had motion sensors attached to their arms and an additional sensor was placed inside their pillows, providing scientists with movement feedback throughout the sleep period.

Researchers measured the levels of carbon dioxide in the rooms over the five-day period, finding that air circulation as a result of the open windows or doors contributed to the lowering of carbon dioxide levels in those rooms. The lower the carbon dioxide level, it was found, the less the subjects tossed and turned and the more “efficient” the sleep period seemed to be. The subjects woke up less often and reportedly had a better quality sleep in the rooms allowing for air circulation as well.

“Lower CO2 levels implied better sleep depth, sleep efficiency, and lesser number of awakenings,” authors of the study, published in the journal Indoor Air, concluded from the findings.

The scientists found a measurable elevation in carbon dioxide levels in the rooms, as was expected, where windows and doors were kept closed during sleep, due primarily to the participants’ exhalations being trapped in the non-ventilated space. They measured an average of 1150 parts per million of the gas in the room, compared with 717 parts per million in rooms where the window or door was allowed to stay open.

Research indicated that an open window was more efficient at lowering the carbon dioxide levels than was an open door. The authors noted, however, that open doors might be better for some if the noise level outside has an adverse impact on one’s ability to sleep.

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Open window will help you sleep by stopping co2 build up

The study agrees with, according to the Daily Mail, a previous study conducted at the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, where similar results were obtained. The research noted that participants in the study reported less sleepiness and better concentration levels following a sleep period where the “perceived freshness of bedroom air improved significantly when the CO2 level was lower”.

The study adds to the growing amount of research accumulating with regard to the harmful effects of carbon dioxide with regard to sleeping, amount of rest achieved, and its contributing to sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, where airflow is blocked — usually by the tongue and/or soft palate — and disallows oxygen to reach the lungs. This causes a rise, sometimes quite dangerous, in the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. As VeryWell points out, this can be a cause of morning headaches.

Elevated carbon dioxide levels where one sleeps would, obviously, add to the problems associated with obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders associated with the chemical compound.

Why is it not good to sleep under a tree at night

Carbon dioxide levels can even be elevated in areas where there is plenty of ventilation, such as outdoors. Research has indicated, according to Smart Learning for All, that sleeping under a tree instead of under an open sky provides for a poorer sleep experience. This is caused by the tree, which at night does not perform photosynthesis (which produces oxygen as well as carbon dioxide in its daytime respiration cycle), emits an abundance of carbon dioxide.

So if you find yourself tossing and turning, waking up in the middle of the night, and not getting restful sleep, it could very well be caused by something as simple as sleeping in an enclosed room and the elevated amount of carbon dioxide in your sleeping quarters. Open a door or, better yet, a window and get the quality rest your body requires to function efficiently.