My husband and I heat our house with a wood-burning stove, and it dries the air right out. A couple of winters ago, I was plagued by a scratchy throat, itchy skin, and dry nasal passages. And, as a singer and musician who often performs on stage, this was not going to fly!
Luckily, my husband, being the sweetheart that he is, came home one day with a humidifier, and he set it up in our bedroom. Now, I hadn’t slept with a humidifier since I was a kid, but after those first couple of nights, I was sold. Ever since, I’ve woken up to supple skin, moist and clear nasal passages, and—the best part—no more croaky morning voice!
This inspired me to research the exact health benefits of sleeping with a humidifier. Here are some of my favorite reasons to humidify the air in your home before going to sleep.
Humidifiers help clean the air in your home
In the winter, our windows mostly stay shut, which means there’s no place for allergens, dust, and pollutants to go. According to New York-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, increasing the humidity in the air reduces the amount of dust and allergens flying around, making for a healthier environment where it’s easier to breathe.
Humidifiers reduce your chances of a cold or flu
A study from the University of Chicago found influenza viruses tend to lose their infectivity in humid air. With 40% humidity or greater, the influenza virus only retained 14.6–22.2% infectivity. And, if you do end up getting sick, the humid air will still help. By moistening nasal passages, humidifiers can alleviate symptoms of the common cold and reduce coughing and sneezing.
Humidifiers help keep your hair and skin healthy
All that indoor pollution we mentioned earlier can contribute to a grimy scalp and frizzy hair, leading to split ends and dryness. Using a humidifier to clean the air leads to a healthier environment for your hair and skin.
And, as anyone who lives in dry western states knows: Dry air leads to dry skin and chapped lips. When you sleep with a humidifier in the room, your skin can absorb the moisture, which can prevent cracked, itchy, and flaky skin.
Humidifiers help prevent your vocal cords from drying out
Our vocal cords are more delicate than we give them credit for. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, the best way to prevent voice problems is to stay hydrated and—you guessed it—use a humidifier in your home. This is essential for anyone who uses their voice for their livelihoods, such as singers, teachers, salespeople, or public speakers. There’s nothing worse than a croaky voice when you have to speak up.
Humidifiers are great for many other purposes, too. They make your home a happier place for your pets and houseplants, and they even help preserve the wood in your home.
With all these benefits, you’ll be glad you decided to purchase one, and you’ll never want to sleep without it again!