The summertime brings with it those bright, sunny days where you can lie by the pool and soak up the sun. The springtime showers have brought their beautiful blooms to your front yard gardens. But as Houstonians, we know that the summer doesn’t only bring a lot of heat but a lot of humidity too. From Newstonians to “I Remember When” Houstonians, the summers mean muggy air, sweaty brows, and flapping your hand as a makeshift fan. This heat and humidity can be difficult on your sinuses while you sleep. We discuss a few things you can do to avoid your sinusitis symptoms in these hot, humid Houston summer nights.
The humidity in Houston exacerbates the unpleasant feeling of the summer heat. What happens if you have too much or too little heat and humidity while you sleep? In the past, we’ve discussed how getting a good night’s sleep is important for your health. You wouldn’t want to have your sinusitis issues keep you from getting a full night’s rest. Having sinusitis means you have restricted airways but they’re not blocked by an obstacle. The nasal passages are inflamed for some reason and impeding the flow of air. This could be generated by sleeping in unideal temperatures and humidity levels in your bedroom.
Ideal Temperature While You Sleep
There’s a reason why you always see AC thermostats set to somewhere in the 70s. The human body generates heat at 98.6° F by circulating blood near the surface of the skin, by exhaling warm, humidified air, and by evaporating sweat. The thermoregulation of all of these internal bodily processes operates at its optimum level around 70° F. If anything inhibits the distribution of this heat, our body feels discomfort. So how do you make sure your body has a pleasant night’s rest?
A person’s core body temperature cycles up and down throughout the 24-hour cycle. While you’re sleeping, you can’t be as proactive to the presence of humid air or thick clothing keeping your body heat from escaping. So make sure you turn on a fan and wear light clothing before going to bed. Since thermoregulation is most efficient during light sleep, you’d want to ensure the room is cool enough for those dips into deeper sleep. If your brain can’t enter a deep state of sleep because it’s having to regulate body temperature, you’ll be tossing and turning all night.
Humidity’s Effect on You While You Sleep
As any Houston homeowner can tell you, humidity is not your friend. The prevalence of mold in high-humidity areas can be an unwelcome addition to your home. Previously, we’ve discussed how to avoid mold developing inside, but not how they can affect your sinuses. Repeated exposure to mold can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and development of scar tissue in your lungs. If you’re allergic, you’ll develop congestion and irritation.
Floor or ceiling fans and dehumidifiers can ensure that humidity is moved through and removed from your home’s interior. Central air conditioning systems can both control the temperature of your house while lowering the humidity levels as it moves air through its ductwork. (Probably why they’re so popular.)
Now that’s not to say that you should sleep in the Mojave Desert. Moisture is actually a good thing. Sixty percent of the human body is water, which means that depriving the body of naturally occurring moisture could cause irritated nasal passages, sneezing, stuffy noses, and cracked lips. Experts at the Mayo Clinic note that the ideal humidity level is forty-five percent but acknowledge that humidity levels can range between thirty and fifty percent.
Experts say that cooler, humid air that passes through the nasal passages can actually make it feel like it’s easier to breathe. So, even if your nose is a little stuffy from the humidity, lowering the temperature might mitigate the stuffiness.
Sleep is vital to the circadian rhythm of your body. It keeps your physiological processes operating at optimum levels. It regulates your brain function so you can be the best you at the dawn of every morning. In the midst of a hot, humid Houston summer, take the simple steps to ensure you’re not depriving yourself of the necessary rest your body and brain require.
Are you struggling with a summertime stuffy nose? We’ve got plenty of options for you. Take back your sinuses (so you and your sinuses aren’t clogged up or bogged down this summer). Visit ENT specialist, Dr. Pasha and his team. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!