Recently, we’ve explained how important it is to stop using indoor air pollutants. While you’re armed with the knowledge of how to do so, there are many people who would shrug it off and move on.

After all, unless you’re unable to breathe, we pay little attention to the air around us.

But that’s a big mistake.

There are so many studies that prove that poor air quality can have devastating effects. This article explains what could happen if you pay no attention to your poor indoor air quality and how it can affect your health.

How Polluted Indoor Air Can Impact Mental Health and Sleep

Poor Air Quality and Sleep: The Affect

We all know how important sleep is. If you have a rocky night’s sleep, the next morning you feel groggy and miserable. Since infancy, our mood has been massively shaped by our sleeping quality.

In your bedroom, the air around you will have a subconscious impact on how well you sleep. Think about a time you slept in a hot and stuffy room. You’d toss and turn all night, struggling to relax and switch off. If you sleep with your windows shut, it’s not just the temperature you need to be wary of.

Sleeping with closed windows and doors can cause the carbon dioxide levels in the room to increase to 2500 to 3000 parts per million (ppm). This may not mean much to you now, but when you combine it with the fact that it’s three times higher than the recommended levels, it becomes alarming.

Too much carbon dioxide can cause hypercapnia, which usually occurs after hypoventilation. Hypercapnia causes shortness of breath, leading you to feel like you’re not getting any air into your lungs. This disrupts your sleeping pattern, as you may wake up in sweats struggling to breathe.

Another condition that can be caused by poor air quality is sleep apnea. While a partner may label it as “annoying snoring,” it’s so much more than that. Sleep apnea can increase your risk of other dangerous conditions, like:

  • A higher blood pressure
  • Liver issues
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart problems

There’s clear evidence to suggest that sleep apnea can be worsened by poor air quality. In a recent study, the participants were exposed to PM 2.5 and nitrogen dioxide, and their likelihood of developing sleep apnea increased considerably.

Clearly, a lack of sleep can cause both physical and mental problems. Human beings, and most living creatures, need sleep and rest to function. As such, you should be making sure the air quality in your bedroom is healthy. There’s little point in winding down, exercising before bed, and eating healthily if the air you’re breathing in is more toxic than a candy bar or two.

Poor Air Quality, Outdoors Mostly, Can Cause Mental Illness to Develop and Worsen

It’s evident that there’s a link between poor air quality and bad sleep quality. That in itself can cause mental illness. Lack of sleep can cause a depressive spiral, provoking other mental illnesses that we’ll cover in this section.

The truth is poor air quality isn’t only dangerous for your lungs. It’s equally as toxic for your mind. The past decade has produced intensive research that dives into the relationship between air quality and mental health. The results are concerning and should be considered before you shrug off poor air quality as “just one of those things.”

The studies demonstrated a clear link between polluted air quality and mental health issues, like:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression

Just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. If you could see it, you’d see thick fog and green gasses.

But it seems that not everyone needs to see it to feel its impact. As pollution levels have risen, there have been a higher number of visits to mental health service centers. While patients may not instantly consider the air quality as a leading reason — or consider it at all — the correlation between the two is too clear to ignore.

Poor Indoor Air Quality Health Effects: Allergies and Asthma

Indoor Pollutants Can Irritate Your Nose and Eyes.

When you hear the word “allergies,” you think of thick layers of pollen. Many people decide to stay inside when they feel their allergies playing up. Unfortunately, staying indoors isn’t always safer.

Poor indoor air quality can cause allergies by releasing nitrogen dioxide into the room. This chemical works its way into your system, irritating the mucous membranes of your throat, nose, and eyes. That’s what causes the itchy roof of your mouth and back of your throat, runny nose, and streaming eyes. In extreme cases, it can also cause shortness of breath, which can be mistaken for a panic or anxiety attack.

Asthma Attacks Can Be Triggered by Indoor Air Pollution

Asthma varies in extremities. Some may have mild asthma that is merely an inconvenience, while others face it as a life-threatening condition

The number of people who suffer from asthma is huge. In the United States, one in 12 children (roughly 6 million) has been diagnosed with the condition. One in 13 adults has been diagnosed, too — a staggeringly high statistic.

With polluted air, it’s unsurprising, though, that these stats remain as high as they are. It breeds asthma symptoms. For children, asthma can cause eczema, hyperactivity, severe breathing problems, and recurrent chest infections, to name only a few. Plus, it can be problematic for pregnant women and pose a threat to an unborn baby.

Poor Indoor Air Quality Can Cause Allergies to Become Chronic

Again, it’s important to recognize that, just because you’re inside, you aren’t safe from allergies. Hay fever is the initial problem we consider when we think of allergies. But the truth is, inside your home, allergies can be caused by dust mites, pet dander, and even roaches.

In the United States, eight in 10 people have dust mites in their homes. This isn’t an encouraging statistic. And it’s not a particularly welcoming thought, either. These dust mites can cause allergies to become chronic.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

From asthma to allergies, to mental health problems and sleeping issues, the air we breathe has a massive impact on our health. So, how can you improve your indoor air quality and keep your family healthy? The solutions are simple, but extremely effective when implemented routinely.

  • Make sure the vents inside your home are dust-free and clean. Put some time aside regularly to clean them, avoiding any dust build-up.
  • Make use of your kitchen exhaust fan. It does more than reduce the smell of burning food! The purpose of a kitchen exhaust fan is to get rid of chemicals and emissions before they spill into the air. An exhaust fan also increases the air exchange in your kitchen to remove pollutants. So, make sure you use it.
  • Open your windows! It’s likely you already do this but make sure you allow fresh air to circulate and replace polluted air inside your property.
  • Be consistent with regular HVAC maintenance. Schedule tune-ups and change your air filter routinely. Put an alarm on your phone or a note on your calendar to remind yourself.

Want to know whether the air your family is inhaling is safe? Book an appointment with a member of our team at ASI today.