Which environmental pollution is responsible for causing insomnia?

Megan Smith
 min read

Which environmental pollution is responsible for causing insomnia?

Which environmental pollution is responsible for causing insomnia?The most common things that can keep someone from their valuable sleep are:

Which environmental pollution is responsible for causing insomnia?

But in fact, there are way more things that affect the quality of one’s nights. So what exactly are these kinds of pollutions that steal your dreams?

Inappropriate room temperature

Ideally, keep the temperature of your bedroom around 18 to 19°C. An overheated sleep environment will prevent you from falling asleep in both summer and winter.

It increases the number of awakenings. These awakenings especially happen at the end of the REM sleep cycle.

A hot room might make you sweat and dehydrated. So proper thermal regulation is essential to ensure a good quality sleep. It will protect you from excessive heat on summer nights and icy cold during winter.

On average, the body temperature is highest at the end of the day. But when you fall asleep, your body temperature is naturally lower.

So to fall asleep easily, your body needs to lower it to reach a stage of deep slow-wave sleep. During this deep slow-wave sleep, the regeneration of the body happens.

Chemical pollution

There are many sources of indoor pollution in homes. Sadly, this indoor pollution is toxic and harmful to the nervous system.

Tobacco is the number one pollutant in some homes, and passive smoking is highly toxic and harmful. Even with the windows open, the smoke fragments remain indoor and absorbed by curtains, fabrics, and carpets.

Cigarette smoke also causes serious respiratory issues such as asthma. Meanwhile, excessive humidity indoors causes the appearance of molds, causing an allergenic and toxic threat.

According to the World Health Organization, the risk of respiratory problems is much higher for people living in damp apartments.

Dust, molds, and pet hairs (from a cat, dog, rabbit, or guinea pig) are allergens that can cause the following symptoms:

  • rhinitis
  • respiratory discomfort
  • inflammation
  • redness of the eyes
  • conjunctivitis
  • bronchoconstriction
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Carpets, rugs, and upholstery allow dust to pile and the growth of dust mites. These are also developing in bedding.

Furnishing, combustion appliances, and decorative products such as

  • paints
  • cleaning products
  • glues
  • insulating foams
  • aerosols
  • scented candles

also release polluting and toxic chemicals into their environment, the most common ones being:

  • carbon monoxide
  • nitrogen oxides
  • specific dangerous, volatile organic compounds, like
    • aromatic hydrocarbons
    • ketones
    • alcohols
    • alkanes
    • aldehydes
    • formaldehyde

Furniture (especially chipboard), glues, and varnishes release polluting particles for several days (or even weeks!) after installation or opening.

Mattresses and pillows contain toxic substances that can be inhaled while sleeping.

Reduce irritants and pollutants in your home as much as possible (tobacco, air fresheners, incense…)

For everyone’s sake, ensure good ventilation of the rooms, for example by:

  • ventilation grills on the windows
  • extractors
  • mechanical ventilation system (VMC)

Want to refresh your indoor air and reduce the concentration of pollutants in your home?

Then consider airing out your entire home, including your bedroom.

Do this for ten minutes every day by opening the windows wide open.

Light and electromagnetic pollution

There are many sources of electromagnetic or luminary pollution, such as:

  • a bright light
  • devices in the bedroom, for example
    • clock radios
    • TV’s
    • smartphone
    • laptop

These gadgets are light pollutants that, in a nighttime environment, harm people’s sleep.

Multiple scientific studies point to the influence of electromagnetic fields on health and particularly on sleep. For example, they can cause difficulties in falling asleep or cause waking up during the night.

The easiest way to reduce these sleep disturbances is by reducing exposure to them. Since most symptoms disappear or are improved in an environment not exposed to electromagnetic fields.

Limit the number of electrical devices and gadgets in the bedroom. Get rid of all light sources that trigger awakenings at night.

Noise pollution

For children and teens, noise is probably the most harmful pollutant. It can cause difficulty falling asleep and cause wakings during the night.

Some examples of noise pollutants are:

  • changing noises, such as
    • boiler rooms
    • elevators
    • garbage chutes
  • game consoles with high sound frequencies
  • the sounds of the street:
    • impact noise
    • barking
    • lawnmowers
    • jackhammers
    • the constant flow of cars
  • indoor noises through the walls, like
    • loud voices
    • radio and television chatter

Noise pollution is mainly worse when your home is near major roads or a busy city.

The World Health Organization recommends background noises to be less than 30 decibels (dB) to ensure a good sleep. Any peak higher than 45 dB is harmful.

A permanent noise level of 50 dB, for example, reduces the ability to fall asleep and increases the frequency of nighttime awakenings.

Is the noise coming from outside is too intense? Then limit its impact by soundproofing your home with:

  • double-glazed windows
  • shutters closed at night
  • wall insulation

Reduce the noise level of equipment like radios, televisions, or stereos if they exceed a certain number of decibels.

Which environmental pollution is responsible for causing insomnia? Final tips for good sleep:

  • End your day with relaxing activities, at least one hour before bedtime, e.g. by reading a book.
  • Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. A night light is enough.
  • Stick to a fixed bedtime and wake up at a regular hour, even on weekends. Keep a bedtime routine!
  • Go outside every day and be physically active. But avoid excessive exercise at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Integrate relaxation techniques in your bedtime routine
  • Enjoy a warm bath in the evening
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch (coffee, tea, chocolate, and caffeinated soft drinks).
  • Avoid large meals and alcoholic drinks before bedtime, although a light snack is acceptable.
  • Nicotine should be avoided after lunch since it’s also a stimulant. Consider getting help to quit smoking.
  • Best sleep position to lose weight: Analysis
About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More