Why You Shouldn't Sleep With a Fan On

Woman sleeping with fan blowing on her to help keep her cool at night.

Whether it's the long summer months that have you sleeping with fan on or it's just a preference, ceiling or stationary fans can go a long way towards helping you get a restful night. Getting quality sleep is crucial for your overall well-being. But even with the best pillows for those hot summer nights, being hot at night can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep all night. Many of us are tempted to sleep with a fan on during the night, but experts suggest it may not be the best idea.

This article goes through the pros and cons of sleeping with a fan on while also answering FAQs about using them so you can make an informed decision. Without further ado, let's jump right in:

Why Do I Have to Sleep with A Fan On?

There are several benefits of sleeping with a fan on such as:

Controlling the room's temperature/cooling off

A lot of heat and sweating will keep you tossing and turning all night, thus preventing you from getting quality sleep. Hot sleepers, in particular, will appreciate the cooling power of fans as they are less likely to wake up from night sweats if there's a steady airstream.

They produce white noise

White noise is great at masking other sounds such as sirens, slamming doors, car alarms, yelling neighbors, etc., to maintain more consistency in your environment. A fan's sound helps create white noise that assists some people with falling and staying asleep all night. But can sleeping with a fan cause tinnitus? While white noise can help you sleep, the constant hum of a fan droning on your ears all night every night may irritate your ears, leaving what's often described as 'ringing in the ears. You may want to use earplugs or invest in a high-quality machine that runs quietly.

Air circulation

Most people don't sleep with the window open for security purposes; plus, open windows allow dirt, pollen, dust mites, and other allergens into the house. Unfortunately, a closed-off room can become stuffy and uncomfortable to sleep in. A fan does a great job of increasing the airflow in your bedroom, thus giving it the much-needed freshness and removing stale, unpleasant odors.

Sleep spindles

Most people who sleep with a fan on are notoriously light sleepers. They tend to have a lower production of sleep spindles in their brains, providing better defense against intrusive, outside noise. As a result, they rely on fans to create a consistent, sound sleeping environment and a cooler overall environment, which effectively improves sleep quality.

It uses less electricity than a traditional AC

Air conditioners are really great at maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures, but they consume more energy. A fan is your next best option to stay cool during the summer months while saving money on your electricity bill. Plus, they are cheaper and require minimal maintenance and care compared to an AC.

Can help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

SIDS is one of the leading causes of infant mortality. According to Mayo Clinic, overheating and increased carbon dioxide levels in the room are contributing risk factors for SIDS. As mentioned earlier, a fan increases air circulation and cools the room's temperature, thus reducing the chance of SIDS.

Arguments Against Sleeping with Fan On

Man drinking water in bed after waking up.


As the fan circulates air in the room, it also circulates dust, pollen, and other allergens, which make their way into your sinuses. For people with allergies, asthma, or hay fever, this could trigger or worsen symptoms.


This point has to do with ceiling fans and sinus problems. The constant air stream tends to dry out nasal passages. This, in turn, leads to the overproduction of mucus to try to compensate, which then blocks your nasal passage, causing congestion and an increased risk of sinus infection.

Dried out skin/eyes

The constant blast of air on your body can dry out your skin and eyes, leaving your skin irritated and brittle and eyes irritated.

Muscle aches

Can a fan blowing on you cause pain? Well, the continuous blast of air close to you can cause your muscles to tense up and cramp, especially on the neck, leading to stiff and sore muscles when you wake up. The cold air of a fan can also cause painful muscle spasms if you have certain medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, not to mention, for those with pre-existing muscle pain, it may worsen when you sleep with the fan on.

So, is sleeping with a fan on bad for you? Despite several benefits, the side effects of sleeping with a fan on you may be bad enough to turn you away from using one.

Can You Get Sick from A Fan Blowing on You at Night?

Not really, but having a fan on while sick could worsen your symptoms, especially if you have the flu or cold. The fan blowing your germs around also increases the chances of those living with you becoming ill.

How to Reduce the Negative Effects of Your Fan While Sleeping

Fans can be an ideal solution for people in good health who find it difficult to fall and stay asleep because they can't handle the heat. The best part is you can minimize its negative effects by doing the following:

Keep at a safe distance

You may want to avoid having the fan blowing directly on you. This helps to lessen the drying effects and reduce muscle stiffness. Keep the fan 2-3 feet away and run it at a moderate speed.

Use an air filter

Use an air filter to guard against dust, pollen, and other allergens that the fan might be circulating. This device removes contaminants from the air in a room, thus reducing the risk of allergic reactions.

Set a timer for your fan

Sleeping with a fan on all night is not a good idea. Consider setting a timer on the fan, so it turns off a few hours after you've fallen asleep. This eliminates the risk of cold air blowing on you throughout the night, which can turn out to be uncomfortable, not to mention all the health risks this causes.

Alternatives to Using a Fan While Sleeping

If you're finding it too hot to sleep, there are other ways to achieve ideal sleeping conditions without the adverse effects of a fan. Here's how you can stop sleeping with a fan:

Shower before bed

A warm shower or bath before bed raises your body temperature, which later cools down naturally and makes you sleepy due to slowed blood flow and heart rate.

Get light-colored curtains

Lighter-colored curtains are preferred to their darker counterparts because they reflect heat and light, so the bedroom feels cooler.

Get a white noise maker

As mentioned earlier, some people rely on fans to fall asleep for the white noise it produces. The good news is that white noise machines are a healthier choice than the fan and come with the ability to set timers and safe volume levels.

Get cooler, breathable bedding

Mattress and bedding materials play a huge role in regulating your body temperature and allowing for a good night's sleep. Consider memory foam mattresses with cooling technologies and breathable sheets made with materials such as microfiber and bamboo sheets. They wick away moisture and don't trap heat, making them ideal for hot sleepers.

Other FAQs

Can Sleeping with A Fan on Paralyze You?

The sudden transition from hot temperatures to cold temperatures may trigger damage to the facial nerve. Bell's palsy, a facial paralysis caused by facial nerve inflammation in the skull, can occur, although this is very rare.

Can A Fan Blowing on You Cause A Cough?

Dry air from the fan not only irritates your nasal passage but your throat as well. The irritation then results in a cough as the body attempts to expel the offending irritants. Allergens in the air may also cause an allergic cough response.

Is It Safe to Leave A Fan on All Night?

Keeping fans on all night has several negative impacts on your health, as we've seen. But these little devices can also get a little too hot, and an overheated box fan poses a potential fire risk.


If you're looking for how to stay cool at night, the fan can be a cost-effective way to achieve that, but it may also trigger an allergic reaction, sore muscles, congestion, and dryness in some people. As a healthier way of creating a comfortable sleeping environment, try our high-quality and luxurious collection of sheets, comforters, pillows, and pillowcases. They guarantee 5-star quality sleep and long-lasting comfort, which goes a long way in ensuring overall well-being.