8 Skin and Sleep Benefits of Using a Humidifier
Is humidity or dry heat better? If taken to an extreme, neither one of those options is better. In terms of overall health, the ideal humidity is somewhere between 40 to 60 percent. It would also depend on any existing health conditions you may have, along with your physical state. Certain conditions such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) may cause difficult in breathing, making high humidity more dangerous. High indoor humidity may be a source of mold, which could worsen asthma symptoms and irritate the lungs and throat. Low humidity on the other hand, can cause irritated sinuses, itchy eyes, and dry skin. When exposed to low humidity for long periods of time, it can result in inflammation in the mucous membrane of the respiratory system, leading to an increased risk of colds, flu, and other infections. Certain viruses such as flu viruses thrive in low humidity, ensuring a high survival rate.
8 Benefits of Using A Humidifier
1. Humidifiers Can Improve Skin Hydration
One of the main complaints of both men and women is that their skin is dry and flakey, especially during winter. However, low humidity is also a problem during the dry summer months.
Adding a moisturizer such as shea butter into your skin routine can help to increase hydration in the skin, but utilizing a humidifier in your home can be a fantastic way to keep your skin healthy and glowing. Humidifiers help to keep your skin from itching and cracking in dry air, and may also help to keep your skin from wrinkling from stress and age in the long run. (1)
2. Humidifiers Help You Heal From Illnesses More Quickly
During peak flu season which is usually from December to February, anywhere between five and twenty percent of adults in the United States come down with influenza, and millions more suffer from the common cold or other respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and pneumonia. While these illnesses are generally not dangerous, they can be incredibly uncomfortable, and millions of hours of work are lost when employees are too sick to make it to work.
Rest, staying hydrated, and plenty of comfort food are important in getting better. Humidifiers can play a major role in the recovery process, too. Increasing humidity levels in your house can make it easier for you to breathe. For particularly stubborn illnesses, some humidifiers have spots to add Vick’s pads or other menthol additives to help ease sinus and respiratory congestion. Additionally, humid air does not allow germs that cause the flu and other ailments to thrive. (2)
3. Humidifiers Keep Your Sinuses Healthy
Even if you are feeling well, using a humidifier regularly can be beneficial for all over sinus health. The nose is full of tiny hairs called cilia, which play an important role in preventing germs from entering the body. Breathing in dry air regularly does not allow your cilia to function as they should, so adding extra moisture helps to aid in your body’s first line of defense from illnesses.
Additionally, humidifiers can also help those who suffer from post-nasal drip as a result of allergies or those who suffer from regular bloody noses. Both of these ailments can be relieved when more humidity is added into the air. (3)
4. Humidifiers Can Improve Sleep Quality
For many people, getting at least six to eight hours of sleep every night is absolutely essential to staying alert and fighting off illness. Humidifiers can play a huge role in ensuring an adequate and restful sleep nightly, mainly by keeping the nasal passageways hydrated, which can significantly decrease the incidence of snoring. Not only can this help you sleep better, but your bed partner will be thankful as well. Those with mild sleep apnea can find relief from their ailment by simply adding more moisture into their bedroom. (4)
5. Humidifiers Keep Your House Plants Hydrated
Humidifiers are not just beneficial for the humans living in your house. House plants and animals can benefit from the additional humidity provided by a humidifier.
While you do not need to keep your home feeling like a rainforest, adding a little extra humidity will keep the plants’ soil moist for a longer period of time, helping plants bloom and thrive indoors. If you are living in an area of extreme heat or cold, or in a desert region, make sure to add a humidifier to your home for the sake of you, your pets, and your plants. (5)
6. Humidifiers Keep Your Wood Furnishings Protected
For most homeowners with extensive wood work and furnishings, water is often the enemy. However, a certain level of humidity must be maintained in order to keep your wood from cracking and splitting.
During the winter months, when the air in the house is warmed but humidity is not adjusted, the air sucks moisture out of its surroundings, including wood pieces. Dry air can also damage pianos and cause them to fall out of tune more quickly, as well as cause kitchen tables and chairs to become wobbly. Aim to keep the relative humidity in your home around thirty to thirty-five percent with the help of a humidifier and an inexpensive hygrometer. (6)
7. Humidifiers Can Help Reduce Your Heating Bill
Many people in the colder winter states in the United States know the pain of having to pay for the increase of heat they use during the winter months. However, a humidifier may be an excellent way to cut down on those costs.
Moist air feels warmer than dry air, so increasing the humidity and lowering the temperature can make your home feel more comfortable for less. With an energy efficient humidifier, your electric bill will not be anywhere near as high as the savings you will receive on your heating bill. (7)
8. Humidifiers Are Good For Your Voice
Singers, actors, and public speakers know the importance of keeping your voice healthy. Particularly in the winter months, illness and dry air can make it difficult to keep your voice at it’s healthiest. Adding a humidifier into your bedroom can help keep your voice and throat healthy and help you avoid the discomfort in the back of your throat upon waking up in the morning. (8)
Humidifiers come with a host of different benefits for you and your home, but there are some necessary precautions to take when regularly using these devices.
Humidifiers need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria and fungus, which can cancel out many of the health benefits of a humidifier. Additionally, use distilled or demineralized water, as tap water can also promote unhealthy growth in your device. If the humidifier you use has a filter, make sure that is being changed regularly for the same reason.
Avoid using any toxic chemicals to clean your humidifier, as they can be expelled into the air with the humidity, which can cause a whole host of problems. Instead, utilize the cleaning power of white vinegar to clean your humidifier, and consider including vinegar into your cleaning routine throughout your house. Hot humidifiers can promote bacterial and fungal growth, so try to invest in a cold humidifier. Additionally, hot humidifiers can burn you, your children, and your pets, so avoiding this type of humidifier is generally a good idea, and using it in a child and pet safe area is an absolute must. (9)
Whether you choose to use one for personal wellness reasons, to recover from an illness, or to keep your plants and woodwork healthy, humidifiers have a variety of different benefits. Some humidifiers can be incredibly costly, but many effective and energy-efficient models can be found for well under a hundred dollars in appliance stores or leading drugstores. Choose a model that’s fit for your home and for whatever purpose it will serve.