Safety advocates have long advised families to sleep with their bedroom doors closed but a new study from Norway suggests that we may sleep better if our bedroom doors (or a window) are left open.
Publishing in the journal Indoor Air, researchers say that ventilation is the key factor in play here. They looked at data on 17 healthy study volunteers, having them self-report and also using multiple sensors to measure sleep quality. The volunteers were studied for 5 nights, some of those nights spent with their bedroom doors closed and some of those nights with either the bedroom door or a bedroom window open.
Looking at the data, the researchers found something astounding. Carbon dioxide levels in the closed sleeping environment were much higher than CO2 levels in the rooms left open. In one case, those levels topped 3000 ppm.
Now, the open bedrooms did tend to be a bit louder than the closed bedrooms but it appeared to have little effect on the volunteers’ self-reported sleep quality. Some noise, like road sounds, actually functioned as white noise. Temperature and humidity styed relatively the same between the open and closed rooms.
Of course, leaving a window cracked all night isn’t always an option. But during those times of the year when it is possible, it is, according to these researchers, “a better choice”.
But Safety Advocates Disagree (Sort Of)
The recommendation from these Norwegian researchers conflicts with long-standing advice from organizations like the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. In 2016 the NFPA revised its official position to read, “A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected.”
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