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Is the Mould in My Home Causing My Insomnia or Tiredness?
Mould in the Home
Mould is a type of fungus that grows in damp and humid environments. It reproduces by releasing spores and other toxins into the air, which can be harmful when inhaled. Mould can be found both indoors and outdoors, and it is common in places with poor ventilation and high humidity levels. Mould is incredibly common in homes the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. Mould growth often occurs due to condensation, often caused by everyday behaviours. It can also come about as a result of poor moisture management (opening windows, using extractor fans) and can also develop as a result of damage or defects to the building. So is exposure to mould affecting your sleep?
The importance of sleep
Firstly, it's important to underline the importance of sleep. Sleep is crucial for our overall well-being. It is the time when our body repairs itself and replenishes energy. Lack of sleep can lead to a host of health problems, including weakened immune system, impaired cognitive function, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
The Relationship Between Mould and Health
Exposure to mould can lead to various respiratory problems, including wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. It can also exacerbate existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma. Besides respiratory problems, mould exposure can also lead to other health issues, such as skin irritation, headaches, and fatigue. It can cause or exacerbate much more serious health conditions and, in extreme cases, even lead or contribute to death (see the recent tragic case of Awaab Ishak).
The Impact of Mould on Sleep Quality
One avenue to explore regarding the relationship between mould exposure and sleep is the connection between respiratory health and sleep. Respiratory problems caused by mould can lead to sleep disturbances. For example, coughing and wheezing can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Mould can also produce mycotoxins, toxic compounds that can lead to neurological problems, which in turn can cause sleep disturbances. Additionally, the presence of mould can trigger allergies, which can also affect sleep quality. If a home is particularly humid, damp and/or musty, these conditions may adversely impact the quality of sleep of their own accord.
Of course, getting consistently poor sleep often results in a run down immune system, tiredness and lack of focus during the day, not to mention the direct adverse health implications long-term exposure to mould can cause directly.
Common Signs of Mould in Your Home
Mould is often visible on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. It may appear as black, green, brown, white spots or patches (and more variations besides). It's not always as cut and dry as black mould is the only thing to worry about. Mould can also grow in hidden areas, such as behind wallpaper, under carpets, or inside walls. A musty odour can often indicate a hidden mould problem.
How to Prevent Mould Growth in Your Home
A. Proper ventilation. Ensuring proper ventilation in your home can help prevent mould growth. Make sure to regularly air out damp areas, such as bathrooms and basements. Open windows while/ after cooking, showering or drying clothes. Use an extractor fan, PIV (positive input ventilation) unit or dehumidifier.
B. Controlling humidity levels. Hygrometers tell you what the relative humidity level is in a home and are relatively cheap and accessible. Keeping the humidity levels in your home below 60% can also help prevent mould growth. This is where the dehumidification measures mentioned above come in.
C. Fix any structural defects. Ventilation is all well and good, but if your property lets moisture in which in turns saturates building materials, there's an incredibly strong likelihood mould will grow.
How to Get Rid of Mould
There are plethora of so-called mould treatments available over the counter. We would never advocate an individual tackling a mould contamination themselves. Mould, in UK law, is a Category 1 health hazard - the same as asbestos. We have a duty of care to warn against this course of action. In addition, some mould treatments do nothing but aggravate the mould. For example, bleach-based mould sprays simply depigment the mould, making it appear that the mould has been dealt with. You may even successfully wipe away the surface mould. However, mould colonies have roots in the pores of building materials and can regrow. Mould is a living organism, and will sporulate (pump mould spores into the air) aggresively in the face of a perceived threat. So often tackling mould yourself can make the air in your home more contaminated than before and potentially spread the mould to new areas within the property.
We always recommend speaking with an accredited, professional mould remediation and decontamination company, like Pure Maintenance UK. Mould is health hazard and needs to be treated with extreme delicacy and professionalism.
Addressing mould in your home is crucial for maintaining good respiratory health and sleep quality. Make sure to regularly check for signs of mould and take necessary actions to prevent its growth or remove it if present. B. Final thoughts on improving sleep quality Improving sleep quality is essential for our overall well-being. Besides addressing mould in your home, make sure to create a comfortable sleep environment and establish a sleep routine.