Do you ever wake up feeling tired and groggy even after getting a more than adequate night of sleep?  There are a number of causes for poor quality of sleep, but before you spend money on a new mattress, first consider the quality of the air in your bedroom.

Priority Energy has helped numerous clients measure the air quality throughout their homes and businesses and have installed solutions that have significantly improved the quality of their indoor air. We often receive feedback on the positive effects of the IAQ solutions we provide; and some of these have been related to better sleep.  Based on these comments we began to research just how indoor air quality can effect sleep habits and the quality of sleep.

EPA studies have found indoor air to be up to 70 times worse than outdoor air. Moisture, humidity, mold, dust and dander all reak havoc on people with respiratory issues. We are trained IAQ specialists and also train others to test and improve IAQ and comfort in homes and businesses.  

IAQ and Sleep

We found a wealth of research addressing IAQ and quality of sleep. Here are two we thought were excellent:

  1. Zanobetti A et al, "Associations of PM10 with sleep and sleep-disordered breathing in adults from seven U.S. urban areas" - 2010
  2. P. Strøm-Tejsen et al, "The effects of bedroom air quality on sleep and next-day performance" - November 5, 2015 

The above reports refer to the metrics used to measure quality of our indoor air such as particulates at 10 microns and below (PM10), carbon dioxide, and many others.  

At Priority Energy we typically measure all of the following IAQ metrics:

  1. Temperature
  2. Humidity
  3. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  5. Particulates 

We have installed IAQ solutions for many home and business owners based on industry best practices, such as ASHRAE 62.2 - 2013 methods, which have significantly improved overall air quality, but pondered whether the better air quality also impacted better quality of sleep.  

Our Sleep Study

To better understand the correlation between the quaity of air in bedrooms and sleep quality, we conducted our own experiment. Priority Energy installed IAQ meters in the bedrooms of our own employees and customers to measure the IAQ metrics throughout the night.

Our findings were interesting. Homes in which Priority Energy had designed and/or implemented systems to control IAQ, such as:

  1. Properly sized mechanical systems
  2. Whole home ventilation solutions
  3. Automated humidity control solutions (humidifiers, dehumidifiers and controls)
  4. Sealed duct systems with whole home filtration (MERV 13 filters or better)

Findings showed that temperature, VOCs and particulates did not fluctuate much during the night and stayed in the ideal range. However, we did find that humidity and carbon dioxide levels had climbed to less than ideal levels in some of the homes.  Here are some examples of what we found:

Here's an example of CO2 levels in one of the homes studied:

Notice how the carbon dioxide levels climbed above 1,000 PPM throughout the night, and quickly dropped after 6:00am.  While hard levels have not been set for CO2 and sleeping, we've targeted levels below 1,000 PPM for optimal performance.

To address the elevated CO2 levels, we increased the HVAC continous fan speed during sleep times.   We did this because the HVAC system in this house had fresh air (mechanical ventilation) attached to return ductwork and we knew by turning up the fan speed we could increase the amount of fresh air being supplied to the bedroom.  Look at the difference in both the peak and average CO2 levels in the bedroom!

Our Study Results

The homeowner reported more satisfying sleep after this one small change!  We recoginize longer term follow-up is needed and will report back soon with more results!

Contact Priority Energy today, if you would like to have use look for ways to improve the IAQ and sleep quality in your home (or business)! - 800.737.2299