Should I sleep with my window open in winter?

The benefits of sleeping with fresh air even in winter

bedroom hero with three images
(Image credit: Future)

During the winter months we often long for that feeling of being wrapped up warm in bed. As the weather turns colder and colder it is inevitable that we want comfort and warmth especially when we go to sleep. However it can be difficult to gauge what the best temperature for sleep is, and whether we should be regulating our sleeping environment. 

Opening your windows during winter may be a daunting thing, as the first thought that springs to mind is ‘what about all the warm air leaving the house.’ How often you should open your windows during winter depends on your individual needs and local weather patterns.

Our experts have shared their tips on how to use fresh air to help you sleep during winter so you can prioritize both health and comfort.

Should you sleep with your window open during winter? 

There are many health benefits that you can receive from having your window open while you sleep even during the winter months. Although the air coming into your room is often cold, the benefits of having fresh air circulating the space is important. 

Josh Mitchell, HVAC expert and owner of Air Conditioner Lab, says that during the winter months he often finds that homes are not ventilated properly which leads to a buildup of pollutants inside. ‘It is essential that you displace some of these pollutants such as CO2, and normally the quickest and easiest way to do this is through opening a window’.

This is especially important in the bedroom where we sleep and recharge, as if CO2 levels rise significantly due to a lack of ventilation our sleep will be negatively impacted. 

If you are considering leaving the window open all night during winter there are a number of factors you should pay attention to:

Josh Mitchell
Josh Mitchell

Josh is an HVAC expert and the owner of the Air Conditioner Lab with years of experience tackling the challenge of home cooling. Josh has explored various innovative methods to cool down living spaces during hot weather.

bedroom with double bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Ventilation

‘Fresh air circulation can be beneficial for indoor air quality, reducing the buildup of indoor pollutants and ensuring a better night's sleep for some people,’ says home servicing expert Tommy Mello. ‘Opening a window, even slightly, can help maintain good air circulation.’

Experiment with partially opening windows or employ other methods to ensure adequate ventilation while maintaining a comfortable sleep environment. a bedroom air purifier from Amazon.

Tommy Mello
Tommy Mello

Tommy Mello is an entrepreneur, a home service/DIY expert, and the founder of A1 Garage Door Service, a leader in the home service industry. Founded in 2007, A1 Garage Door Service has grown to be a leader in the home-service industry. 

2. Temperature

Cooler temperatures, achieved by slightly opening a window, can enhance sleep quality by aiding the body's natural temperature regulation and boosting melatonin production. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, is more effectively produced in cooler conditions.

However the temperature drops too low, it might not be conducive to a comfortable sleep, and you might end up using more heating to compensate.

According to health professionals, the best bedroom temperature for sleeping is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This may vary slightly from person to person however it is wise to take note of your bedroom’s usual room temperature to find the right balance between your thermostat and fresh air. 

3. Health considerations

Some people might find that fresh, cool air helps them sleep better, while others might find it uncomfortable or exacerbating for certain health conditions like asthma or allergies, especially if the outdoor air quality is poor.

Exposure to cold drafts during sleep might impact your body's ability to regulate temperature, leading to disrupted sleep or increased susceptibility to illnesses. For individuals with respiratory conditions or allergies, cold air entering the room can exacerbate symptoms or cause discomfort.

If you have any health concerns or specific conditions, it might be best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

4. Energy efficiency

Keeping windows open while heating is on can lead to increased energy consumption as the heating system works harder to maintain the desired temperature. This could impact your heating bills. Homes built in the last 50 years are more airtight than older constructions, making them more energy-efficient but resulting in less fresh air exchange. 

‘However, energy efficiency concerns mean it's not advisable to keep windows open year-round, especially in winter, as it could strain your HVAC system and increase energy bills,’ says Randy Huckstadt, licensed HVAC contractor. ‘It's more beneficial to open windows briefly during milder days.’

It can be beneficial to open a window in stuffy or humid rooms like kitchens and bathrooms to reduce odors and moisture, but you should monitor indoor humidity with a humidifier from Amazon to keep it between 35% and 55%. 

Randy Huckstadt

Randy is a licensed HVAC contractor and JustAnswer expert. He performs service and warranty services for prestige pool heat pump manufacturers and is an authorized mechanic for Haward Service and Warranty Center.

5. Bedroom location

Where your bedroom is located should also be a consideration when deciding whether or not to sleep with the window open. If the bedroom is in a noisy area, leaving the window open may lead to disturbances that could affect your sleep quality. 

‘During the winter, people tend to visit friends and family more,’ says interior designer Elizabeth Grace. ‘So if you sleep with the window open, you may be more likely to hear parties and celebrations taking place late at night, disturbing your rest. 


What is the most economical way to use central heating?

One way to save money on your heating expenses is to use your central heating during off-peak hours. Additionally, you can save money by setting your thermostat at a lower temperature during the night and when you’re not at home. By consistently setting the thermostat at one degree lower you can save a considerable amount of money on heating.

If you choose to sleep with a window open during winter, consider using extra bedding to stay warm, ensuring your heating system can maintain a comfortable temperature, and installing draft blockers or weather stripping to minimize heat loss. It's essential to strike a balance between personal comfort, health considerations, and maintaining a safe and warm environment within your home during the colder months.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.