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Does Mould Affect Sleep Quality? How Living in a Mouldy Home Affects Your Sleep.
Mould is extremely prevalant in homes across the United Kingdom. In a recent whitepaper published by the UK government (which we've summarised here), they stated:
"Estimates of the number of homes in England with damp and mould range from 4% to 27% of homes, or 962,000 to 6.5 million households."
We assume they are citing research that is discussing visible mould. We know that many houses have unhealthy levels of airborne mould where nothing is visible. Mould growth can be hidden or simply not visible to the naked eye. The percentage of homes with unhealthy levels of airborne mould is likely much higher. Mould is more than just an unsightly nuisance. Recent scientific studies have shed light on the profound impact mould can have on our health, particularly our sleep quality and mental well-being. If you've ever wondered about the potential risks of living in a mould contaminated home, this article will provide you with a comprehensive overview based on the latest research.
Mould and Sleep Disruption
Several studies have directly linked mould exposure to sleep disturbances. For instance, research by C. Tiesler et al. (2014) suggests that visible mould or dampness at home might negatively influence sleep in children1. The tragic case of Awaab Ishak highlights the link between mould exposure and adverse health conditions in children specifically. Another study by C. Janson et al. (2005) indicates that avoiding dampness in building constructions and improving ventilation in homes has a positive effect on sleep quality2. These findings underscore the importance of maintaining a mould-free environment for optimal sleep. Below we examine some of the specific health conditions that can affect sleep quality.
Mould's Impact on Respiratory Health
Mould exposure doesn't just affect sleep; it has broader health implications. D. Norbäck et al. (2011) found that dampness and indoor mould growth is a risk factor for lung function decline3. Similarly, M. Simoni et al. (2005) highlighted that respiratory disorders like wheeze and asthma can often be traced back to home mould/dampness exposure6. These respiratory issues can indirectly affect sleep quality, leading to restless nights and daytime fatigue. There's a very well established link in current medicine between quality of sleep and insomnia symptoms or sleep problems. There are sleep clinics up and down the country that help people understand why they're experiencing disturbed sleep and often the reason is one of an array of breathing issues. They typically stop short of diagnosing the root cause of the breathing issue if it's not a direct result of physiological changes like excess weight gain.
Mental Health and Mould Exposure
The relationship between exposure to mould and mental health is a growing area of concern. A study by C. Harding et al. (2015) revealed that even exposure to the mould skeleton can cause brain inflammation and cognitive deficits4. Furthermore, E. Shenassa et al. (2007) found a connection between dampness, mould, and depression, mediated by the perception of control over one's home and physical health5. This suggests that mould can have both direct and indirect effects on our mental well-being, further influencing our sleep patterns. There's already a strong body of academic research linking depression to trouble sleeping.
Children and Mould Exposure
Children, due to their developing immune systems, can be particularly vulnerable to mould exposure. C. Tischer and J. Heinrich (2013) emphasized that mould and microbial agents might impact broader aspects of children's health, including behavior and cognitive development7. Protecting our young ones from mould exposure becomes paramount when considering these potential health risks. As a child's biological systems are still developing, it's important to eliminate mould as a contaminant from the environmen they spend the most time in.
The Role of Professional Mould Remediation
While the health risks associated with mould are evident, it's essential to approach mould remediation with caution. Treating mould personally can be dangerous, as improper handling can exacerbate the problem and pose additional health risks. Professional mould remediation companies play a crucial role in safely decontaminating homes and restoring healthy living conditions. Their expertise ensures that mould is effectively removed, reducing the health risks associated with its presence11.
Living in a mould contaminated home poses significant health risks, from sleep disturbances to respiratory issues and mental health challenges. While the importance of a mould-free environment is clear, it's equally crucial to approach mould remediation with the expertise it demands. By understanding the risks and seeking professional assistance when needed, we can ensure a healthier living environment for ourselves and our loved ones.
1 [Tiesler et al., 2014] link
2 [Janson et al., 2005] link
3 [Norbäck et al., 2011] link
4 [Harding et al., 2015] link
5 [Shenassa et al., 2007] link
6 [Simoni et al., 2005] link
7 [Tischer and Heinrich, 2013] link
11 [Chapman, 2006] link