Do you sleep in an air-conditioned room? Beware of these health issues

If you don't use it right, air conditioner can cause many health issues. Photo: Shutterstock/:Andrey_Popov

The heatwave in the state has been going up, making it extremely difficult for us to bear the heat. Most people rely on air – air-conditioners to make themselves cool and comfortable. Nowadays, air conditioners have become an unavoidable item not only in offices but in homes too. However, if not used properly, spending too much time in air-conditioned spaces could cause many health issues. These are the major six health problems that may be caused by sleeping regularly in air-conditioned rooms.

Respiratory issues
Sleeping in air-conditioned rooms could cause respiratory illnesses. Those who suffer from asthma and allergies and are vulnerable to cold air may be prone to such diseases. The cold air that comes from the air conditioner causes discomfort in the windpipe and causes cough, sneezing, stress on the chest and shortness of breath. Besides, the AC unit would circulate allergens and airborne viruses, if not maintained properly, and cause respiratory illnesses. Maintaining the AC temperature at minimal settings would reduce the chances of respiratory discomfort. Meanwhile, you could also use a humidifier to maintain the humidity in the air. Make sure to change or clean the air filters at regular intervals.

Dry skin and eyes
As the humidity in the air decreases, the eyes and skin of those who sleep in air-conditioned rooms may get dry. The cold air would absorb the moisture, making the skin dry and itchy. You may feel discomfort in your eyes due to long exposure to dry air. It may lead to reddening of eyes, itchy eyelids and cloudy vision. A humidifier could be used to maintain the humidity in the room. Moisturize the skin well before going to bed. Eye drops could be used to keep the eyes moist.

Muscle pain
Sleeping in air-conditioned rooms could lead to muscle pain and stiffness. In cold climates, the muscles shrink and stiffen, causing discomfort and pain. Cold air aggravates muscle pain in those who suffer from muscle or bone-related issues. You could prevent this by adjusting the AC temperature or by using blankets and multiple layers of clothing. Doing simple stretching exercises before going to sleep would relax and loosen the muscles and join.

Weak immune system
Cold air would weaken the immune system, making the body susceptible to bacterial or viral infections. The blood vessels in the nose shrink when you spend too much time in a cold room, lowering the body’s capability to fight bacteria and viruses. Adjusting the AC temperature, following personal hygiene like washing hands, avoiding contact with persons who have viral infections and ensuring excellent cross ventilation in rooms are some of the ways to prevent the spread of airborne diseases.

Sleeping in air-conditioned room may worsen your allergies if you are extremely sensitive. Photo: iStock/Deandrobot

Broken sleep
Cold temperature and the sound that comes from the AC unit may interrupt your sleep. Some people may wake up abruptly in the middle of the night as it may be too cold inside the room. Make sure to adjust the AC temperature to get continuous and uninterrupted sleep. White noise machines or earplugs could be used to block the sound of the AC unit. Besides, following a healthy and proper sleeping pattern too would be helpful. It would be better to avoid drinks that are loaded with caffeine before hitting the bed as these too may cause broken sleep.

Sleeping in an air-conditioned room may worsen your allergies if you are extremely sensitive. If the AC unit is not cleaned or maintained regularly, it may spread dust particles, pollen, fungus and hair of your pet animals. The low humidity in air-conditioned rooms and the allergens in the atmosphere may deposit pollutants, leading to sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) could be used in the AC units to stay away from allergies. Do not forget to regularly clean or change the air filters to keep away allergens and to keep the bedrooms clean without any dust.

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