We’ve all had days where we just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers right up over our heads and never come out. Seems harmless enough, right?
Turns out that sleeping totally covered up in bed can cause some serious health problems.
I know what you’re thinking…
How can pulling the covers over my head be that dangerous? I can breathe, it’s not like I’m not going to suffocate and die!
And that’s true – you probably won’t suffocate and die. But you could be harming yourself in other ways.
If you regularly bury yourself under your bedding, head and all, keep reading. We’re uncovering the truth about sleeping completely covered up!
Sleeping Under The Covers May Damage Your Brain
You can irreparably damage your brain by sleeping with your head under the covers.
Sounds drastic, I know. But various surveys and scientific studies say that it’s true.
The results, while they weren’t authentic scientific research in its truest form, were nonetheless overwhelming.
This online survey compared six variations of sleeping with one’s head covered to the four stages of dementia.
When all was said and done, the survey analysts estimated that 23% of ALL dementia cases are attributed to sleeping with one’s head completely covered up.
That is a staggering statistic when you think about it. 23% of people could avoid dementia by simply pulling the covers back? Hard to believe.
And since this was simply an online survey – not hard scientific fact – maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to believe it. But, even if there’s the slightest nugget of truth to this survey, isn’t that reason enough to sleep with your head above the sheets?
If an online survey isn’t scientific enough to convince you (and I don’t blame you if it’s not), there have been numerous authentic scientific research studies showing a link between reduced oxygen in the blood and brain and an increased chance for developing dementia
Although these studies weren’t specifically focused on sleeping with your head under the covers, it’s easy to see the connection. It can be assumed that any activity lowering oxygen in the blood and brain may impact dementia
In a study done regarding sleep apnea, researchers found that, “…elderly men who had less oxygen circulating in their blood during sleep tended to show more ‘microinfarcts’ in the brain. Microinfarcts are tiny abnormalities in brain tissue that can precede dementia.”
Making the connection between hypoxia and sleeping in a closed environment – like under the covers – isn’t difficult. One certainly experiences a restriction of airflow to the nose (or if you are a mouther breather, mouth) when their face is lodged into a small space under piles of blankets.
How exactly does sleeping with your head under the covers reduce your intake of oxygen and its ability to reach the brain?
Because when you sleep under the covers you continue to breathe in air that you just breathed out – called rebreathing.
Rebreathing means less oxygen for your brain and more carbon dioxide intake – not a good thing. Whether it be under the covers or trapped in a small box, rebreathing puts you on the fast track to brain damage.
My advice? Think twice before pulling those covers up over your head…or one day you may not be thinking very much at all!
There IS Unclean Air Under There
Take a deep breath.
Ahhhh…clean, unencumbered air. We all take it for granted sometimes – breathing fresh air.
In fact, you may not even realize when the air you’re breathing isn’t so fresh and so clean. Like when you sleep with your head buried underneath a blanket.
Unless you’re slightly OCD about washing your bedding on a daily basis, it’s likely that some amount of dirt, dust, and bacteria are trapped between your sheets.
This means that when you create a womb-like residence for your head at night underneath those covers, you’re breathing in all that junk.
Oh and it’s even worse if your partner farts in their sleep. You don’t want to sleep in a gas chamber; or a Dutch oven, as my disgustingly gassy husband calls it. Smelly feet are another contributor to not wanting to stick your head under the blankets.
By pulling the covers over your head, you’re essentially creating a dust-filled bubble for your breathing. Yuck.
This make you want to go out and buy all new bedding? Don’t run to Bed, Bath, and Beyond just yet.
Sleeping under brand new bedding that hasn’t been washed at least twice can be just as harmful to your lungs.
Most new bedding still has some manufacturing dust or harmful chemicals left in the weave that can be dangerous when inhaled.
While you can regularly clean your sheets and mattress, a better option is to do your respiratory system a favor and pull those covers off of your face.
Sleeping With Your Head Under The Covers Can Make You A Hot Mess
Your body gives off a lot more heat than you realize. And all this trapped heat can lead to you feeling hot and sticky. While that may be an appealing notion if you sleep in a colder climate, it can quickly get to hot to handle.
In fact, sleeping with your head covered might be the reason why you feel hot and bothered at night.
Okay, so some might argue that this isn’t exactly hazardous to your health – but sleeping with your head in a sauna-like environment at night can have a negative impact on your skin and hair.
And healthy skin and hair contributes to your overall appearance…
…which influences your self-image…
…which affects your self-esteem…
…which directly impacts your mental health! See? Waking up looking like a hot mess can be considered a health hazard!
When you sleep under your covers, it’s going to get hot in there. Real hot!
This means a sweaty face and head which can cause skin breakouts, clogged pores, and tangled hair.
I’m not saying it’s necessary to wake up looking like a beauty queen – but it’s called beauty sleep for a reason. You don’t want it to have the opposite effect!
Sleep with our head and face unrestricted by heavy bedding to get the most out of your nightly beauty sleep.
The One Positive Of Sleeping With Your Head Covered
In general sleeping completely covered up by blankets and bedding at night can pose some major health issues.
But…there is one positive effect that it could have on your health – the ability to breathe in warmer air.
Breathing in warm air lowers your likelihood of catching a cold. It can even prevent it.When you catch a cold or the flu, it generally starts in the ears, a stuffy nose, or a sore throat since these body parts become colder before other body parts. A colder body equals a lower immune system equals more likely to get sick.
By breathing in warmer air, you keep your body warmer and you can help ward off illness. And breathing in cold air has been linked to poor respiratory health, which can lead to illness. 6
Is it guaranteed that by breathing in warmer air you won’t get sick? Definitely not. But it could help.
So, if you’re looking for one positive reason to sleeping under your covers – this is it!
Do you sleep completely covered up when you sleep, head and all? Have you noticed any issues from sleeping completely covered up? Let me know in the comments below!