Indoor Air Pollution
It is no secret that poor air quality, or air pollution, has damaging effects on our overall health. We usually think of air pollution as an occurrence that happens on the outside. However, did you know that indoor pollution can be just as bad? Mold, pollen, dust, smoke and gasses like carbon dioxide and radon are all responsible in creating indoor air pollution.
Furthermore, air pollution in our bedrooms is the most concerning factor. Sleeping is hard work! When we sleep, our body needs the optimal environment to regenerate cells and build up energy for the next day. For this reason, the room in which this process takes place needs to be in a perfect state. In particular, the air has to be of highest quality to optimize oxygen intake.
The question remains, however: How do we create an environment free of indoor pollution?
When addressing the problem of indoor pollution, the first step is to get the air moving. In other words, to prompt a breeze of fresh air from the outside flowing in. Open your windows and door to let the fresh outside air inside your bedroom. Add a ceiling or portable fan to help the fresh air in and the polluted air out. Of course, if you find yourself living in a severely polluted area or country, this would not be advisable. In that case, you will be better off investing in an air purifier.
The Technical University of Denmark conducted a sleep study, testing the effects of quality vs poor airflow on the quality of sleep. To freshen up the room, they simply opened a window to let fresh air in. Participants reported that the bedroom air was fresher when a window and/or door was opened. A direct correlation was noted between air freshness, the ability to fall asleep quickly, and the decrease of nasal dryness. These results are all due to the inhalation of less polluted air in the bedroom. A room that is well ventilated will leave you falling asleep faster and breathing with ease.
The study also pointed out that fresh air in the bedroom results in better living the following day. Participants who slept in fresh air bedrooms reported an increased ability to concentrate as well as feeling less sleepy during the day.
Secondly, let’s have a look at your bedroom. How do you have the whole setup structured? It is important to have a neat and clean bedroom when reducing indoor air pollution.
A cluttered bedroom will decrease proper airflow. Think about the pile of clothes laying in your doorway. Or the large pile of books on your windowsill. All of the clutter that lies around blocks fresh airflow from flowing through your room. Furthermore, piles of clutter decreases the volume of air in a bedroom. This prevents a breeze from flowing freely through your sleeping place, and keeps polluted air hanging around longer.
Dirt and dust laying around in the room is an allergy disaster waiting to happen. Vacuum or sweep your floors once a day to prevent dust and pet hairs from irritating your respiratory tract. If your bedroom has tiles, mop the floor at least once a week to prevent the accumulation of dirt.
Your bed sheets can considerably downgrade air purity. If your sheets are dirty, that very same dirt will pollute the air in your bedroom. Freshen up your bed by changing your sheets once a week. Freshen your linen by hanging the duvet inner and pillows out in the sun to prevent mold growth. Wash your sheets with an appropriate detergent according to the care instructions to clean out dirt and dust. Use a mattress protector to protect you mattress from dust mites and mold growth.
Lastly, remember to shake and beat out all linen and objects that may accumulate dust. Wash your curtains every six months in addition to vacuuming them regularly. Shake and beat out any rugs and other decorations in your bedroom that may be favorable to dust bunnies.
After you’ve shaken out your room and opened your windows, it is time to consider the final touch of aesthetics. A beautifully decorated bedroom will motivate you to keep everything clean and fresh. When choosing decorations for indoor air pollution improvement, plants is the way to go.
Plants purify the air we breathe by a process called photosynthesis. During this process, carbon dioxide (the air we breathe out) is absorbed by the plant as food. The plant uses carbon to create energy for itself to grow and produces oxygen as a byproduct. This way, the poisonous gas carbon dioxide is “exchanged” for the gas oxygen we need for breathing.
Remember to take the climate of your room into consideration when choosing bedroom plants. The amount of sunlight, or lack thereof, will be a deciding factor in the purchase of your bedroom plant.
Shade: For rooms that receives little to no sun at all, plants like the Peace Lily (spathiphyllum sp.) and a Zanzibar Gem (zamioculcas) will be your best bet for pure air quality.
Indirect light: For bright, rooms with some sunlight and indirect light,plants like the Spider Plant (chlorophytum comosum) or a Weeping Fig (ficus benjamina) will provide clean, purified air for your room.
Direct sunlight: For bright, sunny rooms, feel free to jump on the succulent bandwagon trend when purchasing your bedroom plant. It should be noted that the Viper’s bowstring hemp (Sansevieria trifasciata) or mother-in-law’s-tongue is a well know air purifying plant.
Keeping the air inside our home and bedroom clean and breathable can be a tricky task. Through regular cleaning, fresh breezes and natural air purifying plants you too can achieve a healthy, sleeping environment!