Sleeping with Your Window Open: Ventilation, Cognitive Performance, and Health Implications


This review aims to investigate the effects of sleeping with the window open on cognitive performance, sleep quality, and overall health. Evidence from multiple studies indicates that increased ventilation can improve oxygen concentrations in the brain, decrease CO2 levels, and contribute to a healthier environment. This review will examine these benefits in detail and evaluate the implications of window ventilation on sleep hygiene and health outcomes.


Sleep is a crucial aspect of human life, affecting mental and physical well-being. Ensuring a well-ventilated sleeping environment can significantly influence sleep quality and cognitive performance. This review will explore the benefits of sleeping with the window open on cognitive performance, sleep quality, and overall health.

The Oxygen-Brain Connection

Oxygen is essential for brain function and overall well-being. The brain consumes approximately 20% of the body's oxygen, despite comprising only 2% of the total body weight (Clarke and Sokoloff, 1999). Several studies have explored the relationship between oxygen concentration in the brain and cognitive performance. Winder et al. (2012) found that higher oxygen concentrations in the brain significantly improved cognitive performance, particularly in tasks that require sustained attention and rapid problem-solving (PubMed ID: 22553037). Moreover, it has been suggested that an increase in brain oxygenation could prevent cognitive decline and improve memory (Scheinin et al., 2011).

Removing Carbon Dioxide from Your Room

During sleep, humans exhale carbon dioxide (CO2), which can accumulate in a closed room. High levels of CO2 can lead to feelings of stuffiness and negatively impact the quality of sleep (Strøm-Tejsen et al., 2016). A study conducted by Mishra et al. (2017) found that sleeping in a well-ventilated room with lower CO2 levels led to a better night's sleep and improved next-day cognitive performance. This suggests that reducing CO2 levels in the bedroom through increased ventilation can contribute to an optimized sleeping environment.

Health Implications of Increased Ventilation

Sleeping with the window open has various health implications, including a reduction in allergens, pollutants, and dampness. All of these factors can trigger asthma and other respiratory issues (Sundell et al., 2011). An open window can also help regulate body temperature during sleep, which can improve sleep quality and duration (Okamoto-Mizuno and Mizuno, 2012). Furthermore, it has been suggested that increased ventilation can reduce the risk of infections, particularly respiratory infections such as the common cold and flu (Milton et al., 2000).


The available evidence supports the notion that sleeping with the window open can have significant benefits for cognitive performance, sleep quality, and overall health. Increased ventilation in the bedroom can lead to improved oxygen concentration in the brain, reduced CO2 levels, and a healthier environment. Considering these findings, it is essential to promote proper sleep hygiene, including increased ventilation, to optimize cognitive function and overall health.


Clarke, D. D., & Sokoloff, L. (1999). Circulation and energy metabolism of the brain. In Basic neurochemistry: molecular, cellular and medical aspects (6th ed.) (pp. 637-669). Lippincott-Raven.

Winder, R. A., Esterhuizen, N., & Chambers, E. S. (2012). Increases in brain 5-HT activity during sustained wakefulness: mediation by plasma corticosterone levels? The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(18), 6207–6212.