An Air Purifier in Your Bedroom Is the Perfect Sleep Hack

When dust and pollen are left to float around or settle on your bedside table — cue sneezing, coughing, itchiness, congestion, and difficulty breathing — these triggers can disrupt a good night’s sleep.

Doctors confirm that people with indoor allergies are more likely to struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep. Couple that with a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea, and you may be looking at restless nights.

“Symptoms are made worse the longer we spend with our allergens,” says Dr. Payel Gupta, a board-certified allergist, immunologist, and co-founder of the tele-allergy platform Cleared.

Poor sleep from allergies could roll over into the next day, creating headaches, morning sluggishness, daytime sleepiness, and increased reliance on sleep medication. Decreasing the amount of allergens in the air, however, may help.

As air pollution increases worldwide, air purifiers have seen an uptick in interest. We spoke to experts about how an air purifier in the bedroom can positively impact our health and overall sleep — and how to find the best air purifier for your bedroom.

Pros and cons of an air purifier

There may not be an overall pollution solution just yet, but affordable, easy-to-access air purifiers can help us keep our sleep sanctuaries safe. Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy & Asthma Network, says purifiers are one of the most useful items you can get for easy nighttime breathing.

“An air purifier in your bedroom can make sure certain allergens and pollutants don’t irritate you while you sleep,” Parikh says. If your sleep disruptions are caused by allergies, an air purifier could increase your sleep quality.

While Gupta cautions that air purifiers themselves are not cures to allergens, she does also confirm that air purifiers could help reduce allergy symptoms. There are small studies that suggest portable air cleaners may help adults and children with asthma or allergies breathe easier — even when they’re sensitive to cats or dogs living under the same roof.

Research also shows air purifiers can contribute to easier breathing, better Zzz’s, and even better heart health by lowering your exposure to airborne pollutants. If the air pollution outside is high and you can’t open your windows, it makes even more sense to install an air purifier inside, notes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

An air purifier that can remove particles in the size range of 0.1-1um may even reduce virus risk in a small space. (Air purifiers alone, however, are not effective protection from viruses.

How do air purifiers work?

According to the EPA, the air your home could be five times as polluted as the air outside. And with most of us spending 90% of our time indoors, an air purifier may soon become standard equipment in our homes.

So here’s how they clear the air:

The gadgets work by utilizing a fan that sucks in and circulates air, trapping harmful particles like smoke or dust inside. Next, a filter – or multiple filters – made from paper, fiber (usually fiberglass), or mesh rids the air of particles and pollutants, then a release system pushes clean air back into the room. Some use a process called electrical attraction, though that type comes with considerable drawbacks, which are discussed below.

According to the EPA, higher fan speeds and long run times filter more air through the air cleaner, but how well these filters work also depends on where you place it.

Depending on the model, your unit may go on a bedside table or on the floor but you should always place your air purifier wherever the concentration of pollutants is the highest. One way of assessing where pollution is the highest is by noticing where, in the home, your allergies seem to bother you most. There are also air-quality specialists who may be able to come in and tell you where that is.

Wherever you place it, the most important thing is to make sure the airflow is not obstructed. Keep them away from curtains and anything else that might inhibit airflow. And if the cleaner creates an uncomfortable draft, then redirect the airflow away from you.

How to choose the best air purifier for your bedroom

With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Use these tips to select a high-quality air purifier.

1. Look for a HEPA filter on the label

An air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is a must, because it’s “the most effective at removing airborne particles and allergens from indoor air,” Gupta says.

HEPA filters mechanically remove 99.97% of airborne particles like dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria larger or equal to 0.3μm (1/83,000 of an inch) in diameter. Translation: For every 10,000 particles of this size, only three will be able to pass.

2. Check the CADR

For the most effective setup, choose an air purifier with a clean air delivery rate (CADR) that matches the size of your bedroom. Typically, manufacturers note this on the label in square feet. For a bedroom that has high ceilings (8+ feet), size up. If your space is too large for a single cleaner, get multiple models to run in the same room.

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3. Choose one that’s expert approved

Want to narrow your options fast? Pick out an air purifier from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s list of certified asthma & allergy friendly® cleaners. These options can remove nearly 98% of allergen particles from the air.

Then, scan the label for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers’ AHAM Verifide® mark. This means all packaging claims about energy, volume, and performance are backed by independent laboratory analysis.

4. Avoid air ionizers and ozone generators

Remember the electrical attraction method we mentioned earlier? Air purifiers that claim to electrically charge particles to remove them from the air (often onto a plate which you then wipe out) should be avoided as they emit harmful levels of ozone as a byproduct. Ozone is known to cause lung irritation and worsen asthma.

In the past, some marketers have claimed these products create “energized oxygen” or “pure air,” but this marketing practice that has long drawn the ire of scientists, environmentalists, and regulators as these ionizing air cleaners do just the opposite.

While technology continues to shift towards ionization technologies with lower ozone emission, experts highlight that people who have asthma and allergies in particular should avoid devices with an ionizer as research is still unconclusive on whether benefits outweigh the risks.

At the end of the day, it’s your HEPA filter that will do most of the air purifying work. Ionizers cannot remove large particles such as pollen, house dust, and fungal spores, according to the EPA. Some manufacturers also have the ionizer as an optional feature, which means it won’t be in use unless you turn it on, but these products tend to be more expensive than air purifiers without an ionizer.

Are there any cons to owning an air purifier?

Besides ionizers or ozone generators, there are other potential downsides to having an air purifier running while you sleep. First, consider the noise. The higher the airflow, the more pollutants will be removed from the air in your bedroom, and the louder your purifier will be.

If you’re a light sleeper, you may want to look for air purifiers that come with sleep timers, so you don’t find yourself getting up at night to turn off a noisy machine. However the noise of your air purifier may also depend on size and how often your fan runs. If you find your air purifier is smaller and more consistent throughout the night, lucky you! It now doubles as a sound machine.

Another important consideration: maintenance. It’s easy to buy a model and treat it well for the first few months only to begin to neglect it over time, or think it stops working when you actually need to change the filter.

How to maintain an air purifier

After you’ve found your fit, don’t forget about upkeep.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance. Dirty filters won’t work as well, so replace your filter according to the recommended schedule. Some models have carbon pre-filters which typically need to be replaced every three months, while HEPA filters should be replaced about once a year.

However, this can vary depending on how often you run your air purifier, so be sure to follow the label instructions. If your air purifier comes with a light indicator, change filters when the change filter indicator light flicks on. Keep the model clean and dust-free to ensure maximum effectiveness, Gupta and Parikh advise.

Finally, remember an air purifier isn’t a one-and-done fix for clean air in your bedroom

The following tips will round out your strategy for better breathing in your sleep:

  • Keep surfaces like your furniture and photo frames clear of dust.  
  • Swap drapes and blinds for shades or washable curtains.   
  • Shut windows and doors to keep allergens like pollen out.  
  • Seal pillows, mattress, and box spring with zippered plastic or allergen-resistant covers. 
  • Wash and dry bedding on high-heat settings to zap dust mites.  
  • Vacuum at least once a week. 
  • Use a dehumidifier to combat mold.  
  • Control pests with poison baits, boric acid, or traps rather than harsh chemicals. 
  • Make your bedroom a pet-free (read: dander-free) zone.  

Part of avoiding allergy symptoms is the maintenance and prevention, so that they don’t surprise you, especially during high-pollen-count seasons. Having a cleaning routine can help with that. If you’re scheduling when you need to purchase or use your filter replacements, don’t forget to add a reminder for dusting, vacuuming, and laundry around that time, too.

Not only will this leave fewer areas for dust to collect, it will also help keep your visual space free from the anxiety of clutter.

— Update: 08-02-2023 — found an additional article 11 Benefits of an Air Purifier: Do I Need to Use One? from the website for the keyword benefits of air purifier in bedroom.

Where would you say the air quality is better: inside your neat, clean home or out on streets full of smog and car exhaust? If you live in an urban area, you may naturally assume that the air you breathe indoors is purer than outside—but you’d be wrong.

According to the EPA, indoor air pollutant levels may be at least 2-5 times higher than typical outdoor levels. In some areas, a study revealed that indoor air was 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. Considering that the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors, you get an alarming picture.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve the air quality inside your home, like investing in an air purifier. What are the benefits of an air purifier, and do you need one? Keep reading to find out.

Why Indoor Air Quality Matters

While outdoor air pollution in urban areas consists primarily of vehicle emissions and industrial fuel burning, the sources of indoor air pollution can be more diverse. Typical sources include fuel-burning appliances, household cleaning products, pet hair and dandruff, dust, excess moisture, and deteriorating building materials.

Indoor pollutants settle in household dust and can stay trapped inside your home for a long time without efficient removal.

Although you may not feel the effects of poor air quality immediately, prolonged exposure to indoor air pollutants may cause symptoms like coughing, sneezing, eye irritation, and headaches. It may also trigger allergic reactions or aggravate asthma in susceptible individuals. Small children are especially vulnerable since they spend a lot of time playing on the floor and carpets, where household dust tends to concentrate.

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Here Are 11 Benefits of an Air Purifier

Still not sure whether you need an air purifier? Consider the following benefits an air purifier can offer.

1. Cleaner Air

First of all, and most importantly, an air purifier will ensure your family is breathing cleaner and healthier air.

2. Fewer Odors

If you love to cook, but your kitchen doesn’t have good ventilation, the smell of whatever you’ve had for dinner may linger all over your house until morning. An air purifier can remove or minimize unpleasant odors.

3. Fewer Airborne Allergens

Air purifiers can be especially beneficial for households with pets. The fur and dander your pet sheds are potential allergens that may trigger unpleasant symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. An air purifier can trap allergens and reduce the amount of pet dander in your home.

4. Less Smoke

A wood stove or fireplace can be wonderfully cozy in winter, but smoke can lead to coughing and eye irritation, in addition to a lingering smell around your house. An air purifier can help you enjoy your fireplace without the side effect of excessive smoke.

5. Less Dust

An air purifier can catch tiny dust particles as they float through the air before they have a chance to settle on the surfaces in your home.

6. Reduced Seasonal Allergies

The air is lovely outside on a balmy spring or summer evening, but people with seasonal allergies may suffer bad hay fever when trees and grasses release their pollen. A quality air purifier can help eliminate the pollen that ends up in your home.

7. Less Mold

Mold is more than a few unsightly black spots in the bathroom corners. As mold spores travel through your home, they can lead to allergic and respiratory symptoms in sensitive people. An air purifier can trap a large part of the mold spores, although you still need to address the core issue of mold growth and excessive humidity.

8. Reduced Asbestos Exposure

If your house dates from the 1940-the 1960s, your insulation and roofing may contain asbestos. Decades later, your construction materials still shed asbestos particles, which may cause severe lung damage. Air purifiers can reduce the risk of asbestos exposure.

9. Easier Cleaning

Since an air purifier will catch a large portion of household dust, your floors, shelves, and other surfaces may stay clean longer. This is especially significant in areas people tend to overlook, like the tops of kitchen cupboards.

10. HVAC Filter Longevity

An air purifier can lessen the burden on your HVAC system filters and may help them last longer.

11. Better Sleep

It isn’t easy to sleep well if you wake up several times during the night sneezing or coughing. Cleaner air means less exposure to allergens, which may help you sleep better, especially during hay fever season.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

You may have heard blanket statements such as “indoor air purifiers aren’t that effective.” The truth, however, is that not all purifiers are created equal, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if an air purifier is working properly. It’s important to understand how various types of air purifiers work before you try and find the best purifier for your home.

— Update: 10-02-2023 — found an additional article Where Should You Put an Air Purifier in the Bedroom? from the website for the keyword benefits of air purifier in bedroom.

Most people spend around a third of their lives in their bedrooms (assuming you get around eight hours of sleep a night, which is one-third of the day). So, it stands to reason that placing an air purifier near your bed can give you uninterrupted access to clean air for hours at a time.

You may not be able to control the air pollution you are exposed to at the office or around town, but you have the power to improve the air quality in your home and, more specifically, your bedroom. By adding an air purifier to your room, you can help reduce your overnight exposure to air pollution.

However, the exact placement of your air purifier can drastically impact its effectiveness. For example, hiding it behind a television or sticking it in a corner can reduce an air purifier’s efficiency by over 50%. Read on for our guide on the best placement for your bedroom air purifier, as well as some reasons you may choose to have an air purifier in your bedroom in the first place.

Where should you put an air purifier in your bedroom?

The best place to put an air purifier is somewhere in your breathing zone. The closer the unit is to your head, the shorter distance clean air has to travel before it reaches you. In the bedroom, this usually translates to putting the air purifier on a nightstand or small table close to the bed. 

Though your first instinct may be to place your air purifier on the floor, in a corner or somewhere hidden — especially if your unit does not fit in with your home decor — doing so may prevent it from cleaning the air effectively. 

When deciding where to place an air purifier, you need to consider two main things: the airflow in the room and the spaces in which you spend the most time. In the bedroom, the place where you spend the most time is probably your bed. As for airflow, HVAC vents and fans can cause horizontal air movement, and temperature changes can cause vertical air movement. 

Placing your air purifier around three feet off the ground can help it capture air that is flowing both vertically and horizontally. However, any walls, furniture or other objects near the unit can interfere with this airflow, decreasing the rate at which it takes in and cleans the air. This can reduce the volume of purified air that reaches your breathing zone over the course of the night. 

By placing the unit on a nightstand near your bed, away from any obstructions, you give it the best chance to remove airborne pollutants efficiently and deliver clean air directly to you while you sleep.

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What should you avoid when placing an air purifier in your bedroom?

Finding the perfect place for your bedroom air purifier is all about creating a balance between noise level and efficiency. To get the most benefit from your air purifier, you should keep it on all the time, even while you sleep. 

While some people may like the white noise created by an air purifier, others may find that it makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. If putting your air purifier on your nightstand interrupts your sleep at night, you should try moving it a little farther away instead of decreasing the speed setting.

Avoid placing your air purifier in a corner or against the wall. That can block the air intake and reduce the rate at which the unit can take in and clean the air in the room. You should also make sure your air purifier is clear from upholstery, furniture, electronics or other objects that may impede airflow. If possible, try to clear around three feet of space around all sides of the unit.

An air purifier’s effectiveness depends on how often it can turn over the air in the entire room. By making it more difficult for the unit to take in air, you may decrease how thoroughly it captures airborne pollutants. Clearing a space around your air purifier makes it easier for it to do its job.

Note: Where you place your air purifier is important, but it is not the only thing that can affect your unit’s efficiency. Running your air purifier with old, clogged filters can reduce the rate at which air moves through the unit. To maintain maximum airflow, make sure to replace the filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Why should you be concerned about air pollution in the bedroom?

Exposure to air pollution is always concerning because of its link to negative health effects, such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Airborne pollutants in the bedroom can pose a unique danger because of their ability to impact your quality of sleep (and their potential link to the development of sleep apnea).

  • Musty, stale air — caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants — can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. It can also lead to next-day feelings of fatigue and decreased cognitive function. 
  • Mold, dust mites, pollen and other allergens in the air can also affect how well you sleep at night. Overnight exposure to these asthma and allergy triggers may lead to symptoms, such as nasal congestion, that can affect how well you sleep.
  • Particle pollution, including dust and pet dander, may also keep you from getting quality shut-eye at night. Exposure to airborne particulate matter can affect your respiratory health and lead to nighttime breathing issues that cause disrupted or restless sleep.

A good night’s sleep is essential for your mental and physical health. Struggles with insomnia or restless sleep can cause brain fog, fatigue and increased risk of injury. Chronic sleep issues may raise your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems. 

Placing an air purifier in your bedroom can significantly decrease the presence of airborne pollutants that may affect your sleep at night, especially if you put it on a nightstand near your headboard.

What are the most common pollutants found in the bedroom?

Bedrooms can be home to a variety of airborne pollutants, both particulate matter and toxic gases. Out of all the rooms in a home, bedrooms commonly contain the most fabrics — including mattresses, bedding, curtains, carpets and upholstered furniture. These places can accumulate pollutants quickly and reintroduce them into the air when disturbed by airflow or human activity.

Some of the most common types of particle pollution found in the bedroom include dust and dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, cockroaches and pollen. You can also find gaseous pollution, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in the bedroom. Sources of VOCs can include off-gassing furniture and carpets, air fresheners and personal cosmetics products. 


Finding an air purifier that fits with your home decor

People often choose to place their air purifier in a corner or behind a television because it may clash with their bedroom decor. Not all air purifiers are aesthetically pleasing, and it is not easy (or fun) to sacrifice personal style for air quality. 

Earlier, we mentioned that the ideal place for an air purifier is on a nightstand, dresser or other surface that is in your breathing zone while you sleep. This placement is easiest when you have an air purifier that you actually like to see every day. The good news? There are air purifiers out there to fit with any home decor, as long as you know where to look. 

All Molekule air purifiers were designed with this specific concern in mind. Our founders knew that an air purifier is only at its most effective when it is placed in a central location. So, they devised a way to combat the urge to hide unsightly air purifiers away where airflow is weakest — drastically reducing the unit’s ability to clean the air in a room. This focus on human-centered design means that mindful consideration went into the aesthetic design of Molekule air purifiers, down to the tiniest detail, to ultimately maximize the benefits to air quality.

Note: You should also consider the size of your bedroom when shopping for a new air purifier. Different air purifier models are created for different size rooms, and you should be able to find the manufacturer’s recommendations on their website. You can also use an air purifier’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) number to help gauge how much air flows through the air purifier when it is in use. A lower CADR number may not be suitable for larger rooms.

Placing an air purifier in your bedroom can allow you to breathe clean air for hours at a time, which you may not be able to experience during the day. However, to get the most benefit to your indoor air quality, you should make sure that your air purifier is in an ideal spot, like your nightstand, while you sleep.


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About the Author: Tung Chi