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Wildfires and Your Sleep

21 August 2023 Categories: Better Health Author: Katrina Stubbs
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With the uptake in wildfires this season, we are all feeling the effects of the smoke and air pollutants caused by them

We all want to do whatever it takes to ensure that we are getting our best night of sleep. We can face any daily challenges – including wildfires – head-on with a good night of sleep. Smoke can present a challenge for some because it affects us during the day and while we sleep. We are all impacted in different ways, however, there are methods to protect ourselves and promote better sleep during these times – read on to find out more.

How Wildfires Can Affect Your Sleep

We are all familiar with the common symptoms caused by the smoke entering our respiratory system and bloodstream, such as burning eyes, chest pain, and wheezing, but there are other ways that smoke affects your sleep. The smoke and the ultrafine particles damage our lungs when inhaled deeply during wildfire season. The consequences don’t stop there; the parts of our brain that help us get a good night of sleep are also affected. Therefore, causing us to feel increased levels of fatigue during the day. Many people will also experience daytime sleepiness because of increased levels of depression and anxiety due to the stress caused by these wildfires.

People At Higher Risk From The Effects Of Wildfire Smoke

Everyone is impacted by the wildfires, although certain demographics are at higher risk than others and you will need to protect yourself. If you suffer from existing heart and lung conditions, you are at a higher risk. The same is true in older adults, children, and pregnant women. During wildfire season, limit outdoor exposure to decrease severe symptoms caused by wildfire smoke, especially if you are at a higher risk. These symptoms can include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and/or difficulty breathing. It is important for people at higher risk to prepare for the threat of wildfire smoke ahead of time. We encourage they to discuss things with their healthcare provider in advance.

Tips For CPAP Users During Wildfire Season

Replace CPAP filter regularly: This will ensure that your CPAP is working effectively and providing you with the best quality of air while sleeping. During fire season, filters will need to be replaced more frequently (1-2 times a month) and can be purchased at your local sleep apnea clinic.

Keep windows and doors closed: Preventing the pollutants in the air from entering our homes will help provide us with a better quality sleep. If air conditioning is available, it should be used to recirculate the indoor air to maintain air quality.

Use an air cleaner: The use of an air cleaner in conjunction with a HEPA filter will also provide a higher level of indoor air quality.

Avoid outdoor exposure: This will help limit the effects that the smoke has on your OSA as wildfires can often make symptoms of OSA worse.

And if you’re looking for more information on how to get a great quality sleep, check out our website for additional information on sleep hygiene and how to start getting the best sleep of your life.

Katrina Stubbs Sleep Clinician
Katrina Stubbs

Katrina Stubbs is a Regional Manager and Sleep Clinician at Snore MD and brings over 15 years of experience in the medical field. She prides herself in providing exceptional patient care and education, not only to her patients but to the entire team at Snore MD.

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