Is Sleeping With a Fan on Actually Cooling You Off?
Well, it depends.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:50 AM
If you don’t have AC (or your window unit has seen better days), you’ve developed strategies to help you fall asleep in the summer months. Maybe you’ve switched your sateen sheets to cooler percale, or perhaps you swear by your light-as-air linen pj’s. One thing you definitely have is a fan—but, according to a new study, blowing around all that air might actually make you feel worse.
At the University of Sydney, researchers monitored the heart rates, blood pressure, and risk of dehydration in 12 volunteers, as they experienced two different kinds of heat (hot and dry, compared to slightly less warm but with greater humidity). The findings suggest that when temperatures rise over 95 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity is low, you might be better off just sweating it out. In these conditions, an electric fan can end up putting your body under even more stress.
That doesn’t mean you have to lose sleep, though. You can try a cooling weighted blanket or forgo sheets entirely and opt for a lightweight linen coverlet instead. Just remember to drink lots of water—eight cups a day can increase your cells’ functional efficiency—and keep one leg out for good measure.