Should you sleep with your bedroom door open? Sleep scientists say it has positive effects

It may seem strange, but an open bedroom door could be the answer to a good night's sleep

A view of a bedroom through an open doorway
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sleeping with the bedroom door closed has been ingrained in us from childhood, shutting doors for peace and quiet (and, back then, for piece of mind, to shut the monsters out). But it turns out that leaving the door open could have some surprising health benefits. 

It may seem unnatural at first, but opening the door even a little bit could help you to sleep better, and keep your bedroom environment more hygienic according to sleep experts. It is certainly one of the simplest ways to improve sleep that we have come across. 

Here, sleep specialists have explained why we should all be opening the door to a new sleeping situation, and how it could positively impact our sleep.

Sleeping with the bedroom door open

While you may have considered different ways to make your bedroom better for sleep – by adding decor and super soft bedding, leaving the door ajar is rarely considered – even though studies have shown it can have a profound impact on our nightly habits. 

However, Hafiz Shariff, sleep expert and founder of premium bedding company Owl + Lark suggests that sleeping with the door open can improve air circulation and temperature regulation – especially if you do not have a dehumidifier or air purifier in your bedroom to clean the air.

Hazif Sharif
Hafiz Shariff

Hazif started his working life as a lawyer, but found his work was losing him sleep. he started to research circadian rhythms, teaching himself how to listen to his body and sleep better, before deciding to help others with the same problem. He founded Owl + Lark to help others find the best sleep tips and now curates luxury sleep products to help too. 

A view of a bed through an open doorway

(Image credit: Getty Images)

‘Leaving the door open allows fresh air to enter the room and dust particles can leave,’ he begins, ‘this means you won’t be inhaling them overnight, resulting in healthier breathing patterns and feeling more refreshed when you wake up. 

'I’d always recommend leaving the door open while sleeping to people suffering from insomnia, night terrors, or hot weather,’ he adds. Keeping air flowing is also important to prevent moisture build up in your bedroom which, in the right conditions, could potentially lead to the growth of mold. 

Whether you have a dehumidifier, or leave the window or door open, it is important to keep this space free from spores to maintain good health and it's also worth knowing how to get rid of black mold if it arises.

As for temperature, especially in summer, leaving the door open can help to keep you cool if you do not have the best fan, or one quiet enough to sleep with. ‘Having better airflow from the door being left open can help your bedroom have a more even temperature with the rest of the house/apartment, allowing your thermostat to respond and keep you cool for good quality sleep,’ explains Dr. Jade Wu, PhD, and Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert. 

It is important to remember, however, that everyone’s sleep habits and preferences are different, Dr. Wu continues, and what works for one person may not work for another.

‘If someone struggles to get a good night’s rest, they should speak with a doctor about potential solutions that may help improve their sleep,’ she concludes.

Blue gray bedroom with four poster

(Image credit: William Jess Laird)

That being said, sleeping with the bedroom door open is not for everyone. For instance, having the door closed can help to improve feelings of security, points out Lauri Leadley, clinical sleep educator and founder of Valley Sleep Center. ‘Closing your bedroom door at night offers some privacy and creates a peaceful sleeping environment. It can help to reduce noise and block out distractions from other areas of the house, such as the kitchen or living room,’ she explains. 

What’s more, it can offer an important safety feature in that it can block the spread of night fires, she adds. ‘Sleeping with your bedroom door closed also helps to prevent the spread of fire by blocking the flow of air and smoke. If a fire starts in your home while you are sleeping, a closed door can help to contain the flames and give you more time to escape.’

If distractions elsewhere in the home and fire risks are a concern for you, then it may be worth opening up windows every night instead.

Lauri
Lauri Leadley

Lauri is the founder and President of Valley Sleep Center, one of the largest independent sleep diagnostics centers in Arizona with the facilities to diagnose and treat a variety of sleep-related issues such as insomnia, sleepwalking, snoring, and more. The center has five locations in the Phoenix area including Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale, and Phoenix. 

FAQs

Is it good to sleep with windows closed?

Opening up your bedroom windows at night, like opening your bedroom door, can help you to regulate temperature better and offer you cleaner air with fewer dust particles and carbon dioxide build up – offering you a better night’s sleep. You should, therefore, always open your bedroom windows to sleep when possible. 

How do you ventilate a room at night?

At night, try to leave bedroom doors and/or windows open to improve ventilation and encourage the flow of clean air. If you cannot open a window due to noise or pollution, or you feel unsafe sleeping with a door open, then consider using an air purifier to help filter the air in your bedroom through the night and then open doors and windows when you get up in the morning to refresh the room.


Sleeping with the bedroom door open may take a little getting used to at first, but you can start by opening the door only a little, using a door stop if needed to crack it open to get used to sleeping peacefully with the knowledge that it is ajar.

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.