September 19, 2018
Everyone wants to improve their overall health, but keeping up with a healthy lifestyle can often seem daunting. If you're looking to live a little healthier but can't find the time in your busy schedule, why not start with an easy clean air routine?
Taking a few moments to make sure the air around you is healthy can have a profound impact on your health. Breathing clean air has proven to improve concentration and productivity, help slow the process of skin aging, improve eczema and hives symptoms, alleviate allergies and asthma, and even improve your quality of sleep.
Unfortunately, we're exposed to unhealthy air much more than we may realize--especially when we're indoors. In fact, indoor air can be 5x more polluted than outside, due to everyday factors like paint, furniture, carpet, air fresheners, toys, and much more.
Don't worry--it's much easier to make sure the air around you (whether you're at home or in your office) is healthy by adding a few small habits to your daily routine. To help you get organized, we'll share our favorite tips for easily improving the air around you as you move throughout your day.
Let's get started by focusing on your mornings. Your morning routine can set the entire tone for the rest of your day--set yourself up for success by making sure you start the day off with clean air:
It's common to choose to sleep with the windows in your home closed (especially in the colder months) however this can cause the air in your home to gradually become "stale" overnight.
As you sleep, the air in your room fills with carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is notorious for causing grogginess and can make it especially difficult to wake up in the morning. Jumpstart your morning routine by opening a few windows to let in fresh air--a rush of fresh outdoor air will help clear out the excess carbon dioxide from your home, making it less tempting to return to bed!
You'll also want to keep an eye on your temperature when you first wake up--overnight temperatures typically drop, sometimes making it feel especially cold in the morning. Set your thermostat (or automate a small heater) to help warm up your home, and make sure it starts at the same time you plan on waking up in the morning.
If preparing breakfast or lunch for later in the day is part of your morning routine, you'll want to be mindful of how your cooking habits can affect the air quality in your home.
Cooking on a stovetop can spread fine dust, known as PM2.5, into your home. Fine dust is particulate matter found in the air that can be incredibly small--so small it's virtually invisible. Although it may be small, Fine Dust shouldn’t be underestimated–in fact, its size is what makes it more formidable. Unlike larger (and more visible) dust particles, PM2.5 are able to bypass your nose and throat and be absorbed by your lungs and bloodstream.
Exposure to Fine Dust can have detrimental health effects, and has been known to lead to coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, irritation of the eyes/nose/throat, and can trigger asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. Scientific studies have also linked exposure to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, certain cancers, and birth defects.
To help reduce the spread of PM2.5 in your home, run a fan and open a few windows as you cook in the morning--the fresh air flow can help safely move the fine dust out of your home.
A few of the habits we regularly do to help us get dressed for the day can have unfortunate consequences on our air quality.
If you like to shower in the mornings, keep in mind that the steam from your shower can affect the humidity throughout your home. Too high humidity in your home can lead to mold and mildew growth, affecting allergies and other hazards. Bathrooms are typically smaller and can be much more affected by high humidity. After you're done showering, remember to run a fan to properly air out your bathroom and lower its humidity.
You'll also need to be mindful of the products you use as you get ready in the morning. Many perfumes, colognes, hair sprays and more contain harmful airborne chemicals known as VOCs. While VOCs aren’t acutely toxic (they won’t poison and kill you in your sleep), there’s evidence that they cause a variety of health problems. Eczema flare-ups, allergies, asthma, and headaches have all been linked to VOCs. Long-term exposure to VOCs has also been known to contribute to organ damage and cancer. Try to be mindful of the products you're using in your routine, and always check ingredient labels.
As you rush out the door, you'll want to know that you're leaving your home in a healthy state so you can come back to clean air at the end of a long day. The best way to stay on top of the air quality in your home is with an indoor air quality monitor, like Awair. Awair tracks invisible fine dust and chemicals in your air and gives you personalized recommendations to help you stay safe and healthy. You can check the Awair app as you leave your home--and at any time throughout the day--to make sure you just had a morning with healthy air.
To better understand the impact unhealthy outdoor air quality has on indoor environments, Awair aggregated data from its indoor air quality (IAQ) monitors during the smoked-filled air days due to fires along the West Coast of the United States.
We all learned in science class that plants take in carbon dioxide and output oxygen, but as adults we rarely put two and two together to realize that house plants are built to be natural air filters! The concept is simple: plants take in benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, the three most harmful indoor toxins, and produce clean air for us to breath. Adding the right house plants to your home is an easy way to help keep your indoor air cleaner.