Should You Sleep With Your Bedroom Window Open?

The relationship between sleeping habits and environment is complex and varies from person to person. While some find sleeping with an open window beneficial for fresh air and better sleep quality, safety considerations are paramount. Overall, if safe, the fresh air can outweigh potential drawbacks, promoting a restful night's sleep.

It’s no secret that everyone has their unique preferences for sleeping. In fact, there are so many variables that can go into what makes for a good night’s sleep, including your eating habits and activity level.

“Each person experiences the combination of these factors in unique ways based in small part on their genetics and more so on their cumulative life experience,” says Marcus Coplin, naturopathic medical doctor and medical director for The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, Colo. “So the determinants of a good night’s sleep are variable from person to person—but don’t forget that sleep is about the right environment.”

As Coplin notes, what’s considered a cozy, safe, sleep-inducing environment to some may be totally uncomfortable to another.

For some individuals, sleeping with the window open overnight is one of their top preferences. But is this a good idea? And can leaving a window open improve sleep? Ahead, we’ll explore the pros and cons of sleeping with the window open.

Benefits of sleeping with a window open

The benefits of sleeping with a window open have to do with the fresh air this allows into a house. “A fresh supply of oxygen is important to a good night’s sleep,” Coplin says.

As you sleep in a closed room, your body converts the oxygen in the room to carbon dioxide, slowly but persistently increasing the levels of CO2 in the air, explains Coplin.

It’s highly unlikely you’ll suffocate while sleeping with a closed window, “but the fresh, cool air brings with it a fresh supply of the life-driving gas oxygen, which helps keep our levels up while we sleep,” notes Coplin.

Research done in animals found that exposure to oxygen during sleep prompts the brain to stay in deep sleep. This stage of sleep is crucial because it’s when your body repairs itself. It’s also key for making sure you have ample energy the next day.

What’s more, sleeping with the window open may help regulate the temperature of your bedroom and ensure it doesn’t get too stuffy.

Dangers of sleeping with a window open

Sleeping with a window open doesn’t come without its potential drawbacks. Above all, it’s important to put safety first and minimize security concerns. “Make sure that you are not exposing yourself to an unsafe situation,” says Coplin.

What about the weather? If you’re expecting inclement weather, beyond ensuring your room doesn’t get wet, the safety concerns are relatively low, says Coplin.

“Remember: Babies in Northern countries are swaddled and put into outdoor cribs for naps—and sleeping porches were once very en vogue to allow for a safe but essentially outdoor sleeping environment,” he says.

A couple of other downsides to keep in mind: Depending on where you live, you may expose yourself to outside noise that makes it harder to fall asleep if you keep your window open. Additionally, an open bedroom window could allow unwanted allergens into your bedroom.

In these cases, you may want to consider using a white noise machine and setting up an air purifier if you’d like to sleep with your window open.

If you’re really worried about the potential ill effects of sleeping with an open window, you can do what Coplin’s family does and air out the house (or even just the bedroom) at least once per day.

“Even opening the windows in the room for an hour before bed can fill the room with fresh air and set you up for a good night’s rest,” says Coplin.

The bottom line on sleeping with the window open

With the benefit of fresh, cool oxygen entering your sleeping space, as long as it’s safe to keep your window open, the benefits can outweigh the cons in this case.

“I sleep with my window open every night,” says Coplin. “I think the pros are high and the cons are pretty minimal and controllable.”


Is it good to sleep with a window open?

Yes! An open window invites in cool, oxygenated breezes that can help you sleep better at night, according to Coplin.

Does sleeping with the window open help a cold?

Sleeping with a window open while sick is actually part of Coplin’s prescription for colds and flu, “along with good hydration, very light eating (broths and tea mostly), hot water baths (or sauna if available), and ample rest.” These are the ingredients your body needs to launch a complete and successful immune response, he explains.

Does sleeping with a window open cause a sore throat?

This is a superstition that may be rooted in old Chinese medicine and folk medicine traditions. “Chinese medicine talks about ‘invading wind,’ and folk traditions may speak of a ‘bad wind’ leading to early signs of illness like a sore throat,” says Coplin. “For the most part, the sore throat may be brought up by cold exposure, say from an open window, but it is unlikely that that is the cause.”

Can sleeping with the window open give you a headache?

Headaches are caused by so many different factors,” says Coplin. “For some people, the combination of underlying factors may get triggered by cool air and lead to a headache, but the open window fresh air did not cause the headache.”

Now you know all about the pros and cons of sleeping with an open window. Next, learn whether it’s better to sleep with your bedroom door open or closed.

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