I have a confession to make, something very few people know, but it accounts for around 7-8 hours of my day. I can’t sleep without a fan on.
I’m not sure where my habit started; I kind of remember it being a habit in college, but it suffices today I’ve been at the fan habit for a long time. It’s not that I can’t sleep entirely without the fan, but I definitely notice the difference in my quality of sleep and the amount of time it takes for me to fall asleep. And as I find a good night’s sleep harder and harder to find every year I age, I’ll take any help I can get.
It’s not about the fan, it’s about consistency.
I researched this issue with the National Sleep Foundation, who confirmed my suspicions: the fan isn’t what makes the sleep so good, it’s the consistency and the ambient noise. I know this to be true because when I stay in hotels, I try to make sure the air conditioning runs for a bit so I can to sleep soundly, and it works — though I hate when I make a mistake on the settings and wake up almost able to see my breath.
And when I stay somewhere on the beach or coast, with crashing waves? I fall asleep quickly and soundly.
But, is sleeping with a fan a bad thing?
I researched the facts and find a bit of differing opinions on whether or not it’s a good or bad idea to sleep with the fan on. The ever-so-popular Dr. Oz says no to the fan because it dries out your throat and sinuses – but then many other doctors say it’s just fine.
I wonder if the difference is sleeping with a fan directly on you versus just having it on in the room; I know I can’t sleep with a fan or any kind of air conditioning blowing at my face because I’ll wake up with a sore throat, but I do like to have plenty of air movement while I am sleeping. It’s also a fact that most of us have better quality sleep in lower temperatures – I always prefer a cold room and bundling up in blankets over sleeping in a hot room. As long as you aren’t drying out your throat & sinuses, I don’t think there’s any harm in sleeping with a fan.
Try some white noise. You might like it.
White noise when you’re trying to sleep, though, is universally considered a good thing – even Martha Stewart and Oprah say so. During the workday I’ve been known to fire up SimplyNoise, which offers a variety of peaceful levels of white noise on demand. However, dragging a laptop or leaving a mobile app running overnight is not exactly ideal for sleeping– and you shouldn’t be sleeping with your smartphone anyway.
The best option I’ve found for sleepytime white noise? The Dohm from Marpac. It is the official “sound conditioner” from the National Sleep Foundation, a wonderful little device that has become my new best sleep friend. With two levels of white noise and a few adjustments you can make to the noise impact itself, I am soundly impressed at how much this device cancels out any noise in the immediate surroundings. It’s not as loud as my usual fan, and yet I find it much more effective, even on the lower setting (though I do love having it on full blast). In fact, a couple of times it has left me in such a sound sleep I’ve missed the buzz of my phone alarm going off as the phone was on the other side of the sleep machine.
The size isn’t too bad for slipping into a suitcase if you’re going on a trip, either, though it does take up some room; it is the perfect pair for an afternoon siesta, though.
Summer season is creeping upon us here in the Northwest, and with no central air conditioning, we’ll likely have the fans going at night in the bedroom – and having the fans and the Dohm is a bit overkill. But rest assured (pun not intended), I’ll be enjoying a bit of sound conditioning as soon as the temps come back down.
What are your tricks for getting better sleep? Come tell us over on our Facebook page – I’d love to hear!
Editorial Disclosure: Marpac offered to let me try the Dohm at no cost, to which I obliged. They were not aware of my fan sleeping habit, nor was I required to write blissfully nice things. I tried the product, and these were my real experiences. Your mileage may vary.