Want To Run Your Humidifier All Night? (Follow These Tips)

Ile Kauppila

Written By

Ile Kauppila

Expert Reviewed By

Josh Mitchell

Last Updated On

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If dry air is keeping you awake all night, then you may wonder whether it is beneficial to keep the humidifier running all night.

In short, keeping the humidifier running all night does provide health benefits if dry air is causing you issues.

On the flip side, there are certain disadvantages to this, particularly concerning safety, which I will discuss below.

Read my guide to learn how you can safely run your humidifier all night long.

Key Takeaways

  • Yes, a humidifier can run all night. Make sure that the water tank has sufficient water to last the entire night.
  • Running a humidifier all night can alleviate illnesses stemming from dry air.
  • Over-humidification can also be harmful. Therefore, a humidifier with auto-shut-off at night at optimal humidity levels is recommended.

Is It Safe To Let A Humidifier Run All Night?

It’s perfectly safe to leave a humidifier on all night. I do it constantly.

Humidifiers only add moisture to dry air.

There’s nothing inherently dangerous about letting the unit do its job.

In fact, sleeping with a running humidifier in my bedroom has helped me sleep more peacefully.

The device can also bring a whole bunch of other health benefits.

can you run humidifier all night 1

But like with any machine, you have to follow the right safety guidelines.

Important Note:

A poorly managed or improperly placed humidifier could cause problems overnight.

I’ll talk about how to avoid these issues later, so keep reading!

10 Benefits Of Running A Humidifier All Night Long

Dry air can cause all sorts of health concerns, especially if you’re exposed to it for the long hours of the night.

Letting a humidifier run all night maintains proper moisture levels in the bedroom and can bring you many benefits.

Here are the 10 key benefits I’ve seen after I started running a humidifier all night.

1. Sleep Quality Can Improve

Humidifying my bedroom air throughout the night helped improve my sleep quality by eliminating issues that would wake me up.

An appropriate humidity level keeps your nasal passages and airway moistened

This reduces irritation, coughing, and mucus production, and can relieve sinus issues and asthma symptoms.

If you or your bedfellow snore or suffer from sleep apnea, a humidifier can also help there.

Having a humidifier on at night can provide relief for issues that lead to snoring, which spells a better night’s sleep for everyone.

Can humidifiers help with snoring

Finally, I love how the gentle hum of my humidifier provides soothing white noise that blocks environmental sounds.

It’s a small thing that can go a long way to ensuring proper sleep.

TL;DR: Humidifier keeps your nasal passage moistened alleviating you from sleep disturbing episodes of coughing, snoring and even sleep apnea and asthma.

2. Protect Your Skin By Moisturizing It

Humidifier can keep your skin moisturized

Cold and dry air can lead to dry skin that itches through the night and keeps you awake.

Humidified air helps keep your skin moisturized, which relieves skin irritation and helps you sleep without interruption.

This can be particularly beneficial for people suffering from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

Additionally, with moistened skin, you can offset the humidifier’s electricity costs by saving money on lotion and skin creams!

TL;DR: Optimal humidity levels prevent seasonal dry skin as well as serious bouts of eczema and psoriasis.

3. Stop Morning Sinus Issues And Nose Bleeds

humidifiers help with nasal congestion

When I was younger, I used to get regular nosebleeds in the mornings. For some, morning sinus congestion and/or nose bleeds are regular occurrences throughout their lives.

Many of these issues are due to dry air, which dries your nasal passages and causes them to crack.

Running a humidifier all night ensures a proper room humidity level and can keep your sinuses and mucus membranes moistened.

As a result, you can minimize dry nose issues and decrease the chance of inflamed nasal passages triggering nosebleeds.

TL;DR: Optimal humidity prevents congestion and inflammation of nasal passage.

4. Decrease The Risk Of Infections

Nobody sleeps well when they’re sick — I definitely don’t.

Despite what you might think, very dry air makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to survive, which could make you sick and cause health problems. (1)

Important Note:

Studies show that humidity levels between 30-50% make flu, common cold, and even COVID-19 viruses less active.

Sleeping with a humidifier on helps you maintain appropriate home humidity levels.

As a result, you and your family can sleep peacefully without worrying about colds, flu, and respiratory infections.

TL;DR: Many bacteria and viruses cannot thrive in air with healthy humidity levels.

5. Recover Faster From Sickness

Humidifiers do more than just keep you from getting sick — they can also help you get better quicker. Getting good rest is important when you’re sick.

Having a humidifier running all night when you’re sick keeps the bedroom adequately humidified, which helps thin mucus and ease sinus symptoms.

The moist air can also reduce skin irritation and make you more comfortable overall.

With these benefits, you can sleep better even when sick and recover from your illness much faster.

TL;DR: Humidifiers help manage allergens and pollutants making it harder for you to get sick.

Humidifiers help with COPD

6. Prevent Morning Mouth and Dry Eyes

Ugh, what stinks? It’s your morning breath.

Dry air can lead to a dry mouth, which allows smelly bacteria to go haywire on your tongue, gums, and teeth, resulting in foul odors.

If you run a humidifier all night, the increased humidity level helps keeps your mouth moist and reduces bacterial growth.

As a result, your breath won’t stink as much in the morning.

My wife definitely appreciates that during a good-morning smooch.

Using a humidifier can also prevent morning voice, which is caused by your vocal cords drying out.

Although some people like morning voice (and might even think it’s sexy), keeping all of your oral membranes moisturized promotes better health.

TL;DR: Optimal humidity levels can fix all sorts of oral hygiene issue and also prevent dry eyes.

7. Reduce Static Electricity Shocks

Dry air increases static electricity in a room, making it more likely that you will receive a nasty surprise while going about your business.

While static shocks can be funny at times, it is good to keep them to a minimum.

Humidified air reduces static electricity and keeps you from getting shocked.

You can cut back on those nasty crackles and pops that might jolt you awake and decrease your sleep quality.

TL;DR: Dry air can be dangerous for sensitive electronic circuits due to electric shock.

8. Keep Houseplants Healthy

Do you like plants? I do! Studies have shown that people sleep better with plants in the bedroom.

Plants’ vibrant natural colors and scents can reduce anxiety and help us relax, making it easier to fall asleep with a calm mind. (2)

The moisture a humidifier introduces to your bedroom can help certain houseplants stay healthier.

Your verdant sleep aids can thrive and lull you to a peaceful night’s rest.

TL;DR: Your plants will love you for the humidity you provide them with.

9. Maintain Bedroom Furniture

Does your bed have a wooden frame like mine, or are your nightstands made of wood?

Dry air sucks moisture out of even treated wood surfaces, which can cause dry rot and make them crack and break.

When you leave a humidifier on all night, you’ll maintain healthy humidity levels for both yourself and your wooden furniture.

You can enjoy your soft, comfortable, and stylish bed for a longer time by maintaining its health.

TL;DR: Dry and cracking furniture is tell-tale sign of dry air making them brittle.

10. Lower Heating Bills

If you live in a cold environment, increased bedroom humidity can help keep you warm through the night.

Cold, dry air pulls moisture away from your skin, which makes you chilly even under your blankets with your heaters blazing.

Keeping a humidifier running all night maintains a comfortable moisture level that allows you to lower the room temperature and slash your energy bill.

Sure, the humidifier consumes some electricity, but let me tell you — it’s a lot less than your air conditioner or heating system!

TL;DR: Higher humidity increases perceived temperature, thus allowing you to reduce your heating bills.

Risk Factors Of Humidifiers Running At Night

Keeping a humidifier running through the night can benefit your and your home’s health, but there are some risks.

I’ve detailed the most important things to watch out for before you leave a humidifier on all night.

Moisture Is A Double-Edged Sword

You can have too much of a good thing.

Excessively damp air can lead to bacterial and mold growth or damp patches in your house, which can damage your property and your health.

I can tell you, that finding mold behind your bedroom curtains is a nasty surprise.

Additionally, damp and clammy air makes it harder to fall asleep.

Use a humidifier with auto shut off feature

If you plan to let a humidifier run all night, I recommend investing in a unit that has a built-in humidity monitor and an automatic shut-off feature to maintain healthy air quality.

Dry Tank Can Overheat Humidifier

If your humidifier’s water tank runs dry overnight, it could cause problems.

A cool mist humidifier will simply stop producing water vapor, but a hot steam humidifier could overheat.

Fill the tank right before bedtime and make sure your humidifier has an auto-shutoff function to turn itself off if there’s no water left.

Knocking The Humidifier Over

Some people toss and turn in their sleep (I’m very guilty of that). If you place your humidifier too close to the bed, you could accidentally knock it over and spill the water.

Not only will that likely wake you up, but it could also cause water damage — or serious burns if you use a warm mist humidifier.

Humidifier placement in bedroom

Always place your humidifier at least three feet away from your bed. This way you won’t kick it over in your sleep while also preventing it from adding too much moisture to the air around your bed.

Increased Electricity Bills (Slightly)

Running any appliance 24/7 will increase your energy bills — the same is true for a humidifier.

Portable humidifiers won’t consume much electricity, but whole-home units may significantly increase your electricity bill.

I recommend using an ultrasonic humidifier if you plan to run the device all night.

These types of humidifiers are very efficient and consume minimal amounts of energy due to their simple operation. I simply love these things.

TL;DR: If you have taken proper precautions during placement, the only major risk with humidifiers is over-humidification - which can open up a whole different can of worms. 

Safety Precautions When Sleeping With A Humidifier

Clean Humidifiers Regularly

Your humidifier can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria if you don’t clean it regularly.

A dirty humidifier will spew its contents into the air all night, which can make you sick and prevent you from sleeping.

Clean your humidifier thoroughly with vinegar or diluted hydrogen peroxide according to manual instructions at least once a week — although I recommend doing it at least every other day.

Choose The Correct Spot

Where you place your humidifier can have a significant impact on its effectiveness, as well as your safety. I recommend keeping your humidifier:

  • On a stable waterproof surface
  • At least three feet away from electronics and outlets
  • Away from windows, direct sunlight, vents, and open doorways
  • In the center of the room away from corners
  • Out of reach of pets and children

Monitor Home Humidity Levels

What are the Optimal Humidity Levels

Both too low and too high moisture content in the air can cause problems for you and your house.

Invest in a hygrometer so that you can easily monitor your home’s humidity levels.

Important Note:

Hygrometer is a device that monitor's humidity. Humidistat is a built-in device that measure and control humidity levels automatically.

Also, I advise you to consider buying a humidifier with a built-in humidistat.

Use Distilled Water – Avoid Tap Water

Tap water can carry high amounts of minerals and bacteria that can build up in any humidifier.

My best tip for you is to use distilled or demineralized water in a humidifier rather than tap water.

Warm mist humidifiers boil water, so they are less prone to bacterial contamination, but they can quickly build up mineral deposits.

Do Not Use Essential Oils

Can you put essential oils in humidifier

Essential oils can help make your home smell fresh and help you sleep, but you shouldn’t use them in standard humidifiers.

The oil can clog or erode the internal parts of your humidifier over time.

If you want to use essential oils, purchase a diffuser or a humidifier with a specialized diffuser feature.

Choose A Cool Mist Humidifier To Stay Safe

I recommend using cool mist humidifiers in bedrooms, as they have no hot parts.

Warm mist humidifiers rely on boiling water, which requires a heating element.

It’s always a safety risk to leave hot-running appliances on without constant observation.

TL;DR: Cool mist humidifiers are safer; proper placement is essential; getting a hygrometer/humidistat is highly advised.

Factors To Consider Before Constantly Running A Humidifier

If you’re like me, a humidifier can greatly benefit you with overnight operating. However, here are some of the general factors to keep in mind when running a humidifier.

Check How Long The Humidifier Can Run For

Each humidifier model has its recommended run times, often ranging from 8 to 24 hours.

Check whether your humidifier is suitable for leaving it on all night.

Is It Easy To Move Around?

Most modern humidifiers are relatively lightweight and compact, making it easy to find a spot for them in the bedroom.

Can It Monitor And Manage The Humidity Automatically?

Humidifiers with various operational modes and timers can help you automate and manage your air quality without babysitting the device.

Is It Suitable For Your Room Size?

humidifier sqft coverage

Each humidifier is built to support a specific-sized room. An under- or overpowered unit may be unable to maintain appropriate humidity levels.

Check the size of your bedroom and buy a humidifier that matches it.

TL;DR: Having a large tank is important if you plan to run the humidifier all night.

FAQs

When Shouldn’t You Sleep With A Humidifier?

Avoid sleeping with a humidifier if your air is already highly humid, you have mold issues or suffer from asthma.

The added moisture can be uncomfortable and add more mold to your home, while asthma patients can be sensitive to air moisture.

Should A Fan Be On With A Humidifier?

You can keep a fan on with a humidifier. In fact, this can help disperse moisture evenly throughout large rooms or houses.

Just make sure the fan isn’t pulling in dry air from the outside.

How Long Does It Take For A Humidifier To Start Working?

How long it takes for a humidifier to start working depends on the type and size of the humidifier and the size of your room.

Typically, moisture will start rising after 30 minutes and reach optimal levels within a few hours.

Check the product manual for details on how long your model will take to humidify a room.

So, Is A Humidifier Running All Night Advisable?

Keeping your humidifier running all night can bring you many health benefits and help you sleep peacefully.

It has reduced my snoring and nighttime coughing, allowing me and my family to sleep much better.

Since you can’t babysit the unit while you sleep, you need to take the proper precautions to avoid possible risks.

Use some common sense and my advice from this guide, and you can breathe easily and sleep calmly all night.

Sweet dreams!

References: 

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nioshtic-2/20042261.html
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214552419301403
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Ile Kauppila

MA Multimedia Journalism / BA English Philology

Ile Kauppila
Ile Kauppila is a globetrotting writer and editor living in Virginia. Ile holds an MA degree in Multimedia Journalism and a BA in English Philology. Ile has written for a variety of home, HVAC, and energy-related websites and publications. He has covered HVAC solutions, insulation, and energy-efficient construction, automotive AC systems for multiple auto dealerships and garages.

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