Like any other striking realisation that you might be living your life the wrong way, my most recent quarter-life crisis was born out of a very natural conversation at work.
Korean Fan Death was at the crux of the conversation, a old-age theory Koreans hold in the highest of regard and one that sits firmly in their folklore.
It’s all about how leaving a fan on while you sleep, as its name suggests, can lead to your untimely death.
More specifically, it’s a common myth that running an electric fan in a closed room with unopened or no windows can lead to death. It has grown to become a cult-like superstition in Korea, with stories dating to the 1920s and 1930s warning of the risks of nausea, asphyxiation, and facial paralysis from the use of fans in homes.
Of course, most refer to the theory itself as a myth. But it did prompt a more general curiosity about the use of fans at night, and perhaps a greater necessity for me to question what was both habitual and what I assumed was the unquestionable.
Am I, with every uncomfortably hot night made that much easier with a flick of the fan on, doing myself more harm than good?
Robin Bailey’s trick to getting more sleep. Post continues after audio.
I enlisted the help of Dr Dasha Fielder of Sapphire Family Medical Practice in Bondi Junction to sort out every curiosity fermenting in my brain.
First up was the obvious question: Is it safe?
In a word, Dr. Fielder says yes.
“All the fan is doing is circulating air. Especially in Australian climate with such hot summers, I would probably recommend that if you don’t have another way of finding fresh air, using a fan probably a good thing,” she told Mamamia.
More than that, Dr. Fielder says she would go as far to say she would recommend the practice.
“In fact, I recommend it for my younger patients as well as my elderly patients on hot days if they are indoors they do sit next to a fan.
“One of the problems we see in the clinical practice is people suffering heatstroke and dehydration so I think there isn’t any medical grounds for it to be unsafe. In fact, it would be something we recommend.”
Interestingly, Dr. Fielder considers sleeping with a fan much safer than sleeping by an air conditioner. It is all about what air is being circulated and where it is coming from.
The important of sleep, and sleeping well. Post continues after video.