Sleep is essential for good health. The American Sleep Association advises getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. However, many people don’t get sufficient sleep, whether due to a sleep disorder or simply not prioritizing it. When you get a good night’s sleep, you can anticipate a better mood, more energy, and improved concentration and focus. When you don’t prioritize sleep, in contrast, there are consequences, and they could even be fatal. Therefore, it is in your best interest to make your sleeping conditions optimal for a restful night’s sleep every night. In this blog, we will go over ways you can hack your HVAC system for a better night’s sleep so you can create an environment that will help you drift off to dreamland.
In order for your body to relax, it must naturally drop in temperature. However, this doesn’t mean that you want your bedroom temperature to be freezing. You also don’t want it to be too hot your body won’t be able to fall asleep. Just like Goldilocks, you are looking for a temperature that is “just right.” You want it to be comfortably cool, whatever that looks like for you. The ideal temperature would be between 60 and 67 degrees. During the blazing Florida summers, it can difficult to get in between these temperatures, so try using a fan so your HVAC doesn’t have to work too hard.
Find the Right Humidity Level
Another consideration to make with your HVAC system while you are sleeping is the humidity level. In Florida, it gets quite humid, particularly during the summer. When it is very humid, the air feels thicker, making it more difficult to breathe. The more difficult it is to breathe, the harder it is for your body to relax into a sound sleep. You will have a much harder time falling asleep in a humid room, and even if you do fall asleep, you will be interrupted. Humidity attracts insects and mold growth, which irritates your respiratory system.
This does not mean that humidity is your enemy. Air that is too dry is also irritating. It can cause your nose and throat to become dry and feel cracked. The key here is balance. You might consider installing a dehumidifier in your home, or using a smaller, stand-alone unit in your bedroom is that makes more sense for your needs. Use a digital hygrometer to determine the humidity level in your bedroom and adjust it accordingly. Ideally, humidity would be between 40 and 50 percent.
Create a Breeze
A gentle breeze can be incredibly relaxing, promoting sleep. While your HVAC system best regulates the temperature of your home, incorporating a fan into your sleep routine helps create a soft breeze. It also circulates the air, making it feel fresher and easier to breathe. A fan also creates a gentle white noise which often helps people sleep better by lulling them into a deep sleep. You might try installing a ceiling fan to maximize this effect, or just keeping a standing fan near your bed.
Mind Your Air Filter
Your air filter is always important in the context of your home, but particularly when it comes to your sleep. Making sure your HVAC system is functioning properly will be essential for promoting a good night’s sleep. If your air filter is dirty, your indoor air quality is suffering, making it more difficult to breathe at night which, as we mentioned above, disrupts sleep. Have a professional from North Central Florida Heating and Air come in each spring to replace your AC filter before summer starts. In addition, you should regularly check your filter yourself throughout the season to ensure that your HVAC system is working properly.
Don’t Close Your Vents
A common HVAC struggle for many homes is cooling the bedrooms. This is because for most houses, there is only one system, and inadequate duct work prevents the air from properly cooling the upstairs. It doesn’t help that heat rises and so the second floor is generally several degrees warmer than the first. To address this problem, some homeowners will shut off their vents and close the doors to rooms to direct the air towards the upstairs bedrooms. This does not actually work. In fact, it can adversely affect air flow, causing the system to overwork. In fact, the solution is the exact opposite of this. Don’t close off air vents; close off the return ducts. The return ducts are what draw in air and force more air into a specific space. To maximize this strategy, clear the upstairs duct returns, and cover a couple of the first floor returns with saran wrap or another cover. Just don’t cover all of the first floor return ducts as this can cause the system to overwork.
Install a Zoned System
This is the most effective solution to this problem, but it is also the most expensive, so it isn’t an option for all homeowners. However, if you have the budget, a zoned HVAC system is an incredible way to allow everyone to sleep comfortably in your home. It splits the floors, adds a second thermostat upstairs, and automatically dampers to direct cool air to the second floor. This is a permanent solution to the problem, so while it may cost a few thousand dollars, if you intend to stay in your home long-term, it’s the best option.
If you are interested in installing a new HVAC system or would like to know other ways we can help optimize your system for better sleep, contact North Central Florida Heating and Air today.