The recent effects of global warming have affected us all, whether you are at a higher altitude or near the equator. Many people turned into their air conditioning unit to dispel the balming effects of the hot summer weather.
This is also prevalent especially in highly urbanized areas such as Singapore. Many Singaporeans rely on their AC unit to get relief from the hot afternoons and have a good night’s sleep during the nighttime.
However, just as wonderful as the technology goes, we may sometimes be unaware of the fact that despite the benefits of AC technology, it also has its disadvantages that most people don’t realize. What’s surprising is that people never know that they can also have a detrimental impact on their sleep cycle and health in general.
We at straits times interviewed Professor James Trevelyan, the founder of the startup tech company Close Comfort, to have an insight into the effects of air conditioning on our health.
How can urban warming affect the quality of your sleep?
Compared to the environment in the countryside, the cities are warmer because they have a lack of vegetation and most buildings are made of artificial materials that absorb heat from the sunlight and release them at night. Cities also have a lot of vehicles and appliances like air conditioning that releases more heat and carbon dioxide to the air.
The result of this can lead to an increase of temperatures at night by 10 degrees thus urging individuals to turn on their AC. This will only cause more urban heating and those who don’t have an AC suffer more.
What are some of the negative effects of AC settings on your sleep quality?
Most traditional split-type air conditioners suck out moisture from the air in the room. This not only recycles carbon dioxide in the air but also dries the skin making it become flaky and bumpy. There are also cases of individuals suffering from eye irritations and breathing problems.
What are some of the harmful effects of air conditioners on your health?
Traditional air cooling also has detrimental effects on the health of an individual such as eye, nose, and throat inflammations, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. This was caused by the poor ventilation and a variety of contaminants in the air while air conditioning.
What are some ways we may improve our air conditioners so that they don’t interfere with our sleep?
One of the ways to improve our sleep and reduce health risks while using air conditioning is to have a proper ventilation system such as opening windows. This might allow your AC to increase the cost of running it but in the long run, it can improve your health and sleep quality.
What are the best settings to keep in mind if we’re utilizing air conditioners?
Keep the temperature settings of your AC at a high. This will decrease your running costs, dehydration, and accumulation of contaminants and dust. This will not only benefit your health but also improve your sleep quality.
Is it better to use a standard air conditioner or a portable air conditioner?
Hands down, the portable air conditioning units are much more energy-efficient and enable more ventilation, and can improve your health in general.
However, you should avoid the old-style portable aircon that has large tubes that exhaust air outside. These machines are clunky and noisy when turned on. They are also not efficient as they consume more electricity than window-type and ducted air conditioners.
The new portable ACs are much smaller, much more portable, and energy-efficient. They can also work with the window open, allowing more air in and doesn’t build up dust which is good for your health and the environment. We at Asiaone Singapore also recommend portable air conditioning units because they are much more efficient.