Why sleeping with a fan on is a bad idea for runners

If you don't currently own a fan in the midst of this heatwave, here's a word of advice: don't bother trying to get your hands on one.

We say this for two reasons. One: we can almost guarantee you won't actually be able to find one in stock anywhere, because everyone has had the exact same idea as you (just sooner).

The second reason there’s no point getting a fan is that – health-wise – for runners, sleeping with a fan on isn’t ideal.

Why runners’ shouldn’t be sleeping with a fan on:

According to The Sleep Advisor, while having a fan does circulate air to make your room cooler and fresher, it can also circulate pollen and dust. Not great if you suffer from allergies, asthma or hay fever – all of which can affect your running form in the summer months. 

Related: Hayfever and running – everything you need to know 

"Take a close look at your fan," The Sleep Advisor suggests. "If it’s been collecting dust on the blades, those particles are flying through the air every time you turn it on."

Other reasons you shouldn't be sleeping with a fan on include the fact that it can dry out your skin, as well as your nasal passages. If your nasal passages become too dry, The Sleep Advisor warns that the body can produce excess mucous, making you feel all bunged up. Irritated nasal passages can also be one of the reasons why you’re suffering from a constant runny nose as you run.

If that wasn't enough, there's muscle cramping - a runners' worst nightmare. "People who sleep with a breeze directly on them may wake up with stiff or sore muscles. This is because the concentrated cool air can make muscles tense up and cramp," the experts explain. "This problem is especially common for people who sleep with it near their face and neck. If you’ve been waking up with a stiff neck in the morning, it might be because of the constant breeze."

So while sleeping with a fan on might seem like the only way to counteract the constant heat, it could be worth trying other things like a cool flannel in a bowl of water near your bed, or sleeping on top of the covers with the window wide open.

A version of this article appeared on Cosmopolitan UK