It’s a familiar childhood memory: home from school and sick in bed, your parents turn on a humidifier. It runs most of the day and all through the night to help you kick that cold, bronchitis, or strep. It’s a set of sensations, that faint gurgling and heavy heat, that all but teleport you back to first grade, the unofficial year of fledging immune systems and the rampant bugs that exploit them.
You don’t have to be an ailing grade schooler to make use of a humidifier. Even in adulthood, your parents’ secret weapon against cold symptoms can be just as useful to you. Here are a few reasons to use a humidifier while you sleep—even if you’re not even fighting an illness.
Put Your Snoring on the Shelf
Snoring is a condition with many possible causes. Inflamed tonsils, sinus infections, and obesity can all lead to the familiar sound of air vibrating against the soft palate. Another cause of snoring, one that’s much easier to treat, is a dry airway. Introducing humid air into the room while you sleep could keep your airways from drying out. To be sure, a humidifier introduces a small amount of ambient noise into the room. However, if it eliminates the large amount of noise that comes from snoring, it’s a net benefit for you and your bed partner.
Help Your CPAP Machine Work Effectively
Getting used to sleeping with a CPAP on isn’t easy for everyone. It can be awkward, unusual, and uncomfortable to wear a mask while you sleep. What’s more, dry ambient air can further complicate your condition. If the CPAP unit’s internal humidifier isn’t sufficient, adding an external unit to your bedroom can help make breathing with a CPAP more comfortable.
Better Air, Better Hair
“O vanity of sleep,” wrote William Butler Yeats. You may have constructed most of your daily beauty regimen around your waking hours, but supplementing it with some nocturnal treatment is another fine reason to use a humidifier while you sleep. Humid air through the night prevents dry scalp and unsightly dandruff. You’ll wake up each morning ready to shampoo and condition with care.
Keep Allergies at Bay
If you’ve struggled with household allergies to common triggers such as mold spores, pollen, and dust mite waste, even remaining vigilant during the day can leave you vulnerable while you sleep. More water in the air won’t neutralize these allergens, but it’ll help your nasal passages clear themselves out. Give it a try—unlike childhood, you don’t have to wait to be consigned to your bed for a week.