Air conditioners keep everyone comfortable during the warm weather months, but they might be disrupting restful sleep. A study conducted by Professor Kazuyo Tsuzuki at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has found that some settings on air conditioners could be affecting sleep quality.
The study was mainly focused on the timing of the airflow of the air conditioner and body movement. The settings found in the study could make people change positions while sleeping. They discovered that with greater airflow, there is an increase in body movement, heart rate, and a frequency in people waking.
During the study, they had two people sleep in two different rooms. The air conditioner was set to the same temperature in each room, but at different airflow velocities. One airflow was 0.4m/s and the other was 0.14 m/s, which is what the general AC is set at.
The person sleeping in the room with the general 0.14 m/s had greater body movements, increased heart rate and higher frequency of waking. They also discovered that the person rolled over or their sleep depth changed the moment the cool air blew out. The subjects used for the study were adult males, meaning cold airflow might have a greater impact on other people with a greater sensitivity to cold.
Staying cool at night is important for sleeping, but the general setting on the air conditioner could be making that sleep more restless. Turning down the velocity of the airflow could be the key to solving this issue according to the study’s findings.
For those who notice they have trouble sleeping with the AC on this summer, consider turning the air conditioner off at night, opening the windows, and putting a fan in the bedroom. While the fan doesn’t blow cool air, it creates a steady airflow that makes whoever is in the room feel cooler.