What Happens To Your Body When You Sleep With Your Window Open

Sleeping with a window open can provide some serious health benefits — but depending on the weather, it can also lead to an incredibly uncomfortable sleeping environment if you're not careful. From the sounds coming from outside to the temperature to the weather, there are pros and cons to keeping windows open at night.

Opening your windows increases airflow in your room, which not only can change the temperature of your sleep space, it can potentially improve the ventilation and decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, leading to a healthier night of sleep. A 2017 study even found that participants who slept with windows open reported better sleep quality (via Healthline).

"We spend a considerable portion of our life in bed. However, bedroom ventilation and pollutants in bedroom are not a very well-explored subject," Dr. Asit Mishra, the study's author, told Healthline. "There needs to be an awareness that in the confined environs of a bed, without proper ventilation, we are likely to expose ourselves to a myriad variety of pollutants."

How else can open windows benefit sleep?

If you sleep in a room that's entirely closed off, it's likely going to get quite warm and stuffy as the night goes on, and generally, sleeping in cool air is more conducive to a good night of sleep. Keeping a window open can improve the airflow and let in cooler air — though, of course, if it gets too cold, that can inhibit good sleep as well. If it's raining or windy and your curtains are rustling and making it difficult to sleep, shut the window and turn on a fan or the air conditioning instead (via Sleep Cavern).

"Cool air from an open window can help people breathe better, unless the air is very dry," Michael Benninger, M.D., Head & Neck Institute chairman told the Cleveland Clinic. However, he notes that if you live in a dry area and you wake up with a sore throat, the air coming in may be too dry for you and you may do better with a humidifier in the room instead.

Before leaving windows open, consider the noise. If you live in an urban area that has a lot of street noise at night, sleeping with windows open may do more harm than good. And even in the country or more rural areas, there can be some wildlife that will keep you up late, or wake you up early. Birds often start chirping before our alarms go off (or all night if you have a Northern Mockingbird nesting by your bedroom window), so if you know you struggle to stay asleep with any outside noise, you may want to keep the window closed and the white noise machine on.