When someone mentions air quality, we instantly think about the air outdoors that is filled with many different pollutants such as smog, smoke, dust etc. But one thing we don’t think about is the air inside our homes, where we spend the biggest part of our day.
What is in our air?
Did you know that the Earth constantly emits radon? It’s a radioactive chemical element which we inhale daily, one that especially contaminates indoor spaces. Other chemicals can also affect our cognitive functioning, which can be found in wall paints, wallpaper glue, furniture and flooring. These chemicals are called VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Some of the biggest and most dangerous chemicals in the air are:
• Trichloroethylene – can be found in paints, paint removers, and inks. Short-term exposure can lead to excitement, dizziness and a headache, followed by nausea, vomiting, and even drowsiness.
• Formaldehyde – can be found in facial tissues, paper bags, napkins, and plywood paneling. Short-term exposure can lead to nose, mouth and throat irritation.
• Benzene is used for making plastics, dyes, rubber lubricants, and detergents, and it can be found in tobacco smoke, furniture wax, paint, and glue. Short-term exposure can lead to eye irritation, dizziness, headache and an increased heart rate.
• Ammonia – can be found in window cleaners, floor waxes, and smelling salts. Short-term exposure can lead to eye irritation, coughing, and sore throat.
Some research shows that people who spent time in optimized green building environments had almost double the cognitive performance scores compared to people who spent the same amount of time in a conventional office building. Functions like crisis response, strategy and information usage went through the strongest changes. I hope that now you understand the importance of air quality in the space you use for studying!
Without further ado, here is how to get rid of these evil pollutants and reach your full brain potential.
As I already mentioned, we are constantly inhaling a pretty dangerous radioactive element. The only way to exorcise it is to open your windows at least once a day for at least 20 minutes. Even if you live in the city, where the outdoor air is super polluted, always start your day by opening your windows. Of course, you should check your city’s Air Quality index to determine when the level of pollutants is at its lowest, and then open your windows. Trust me, you will be a lot more productive when the air in your study room isn’t so stuffy anymore.
Never forget to vacuum your space
You’ve probably heard how many toxins, dust, and bacteria can be found in your carpets and on your floors. Vacuuming is boring and probably not your favorite thing to do, but it is something that needs to be done at least once a week. Getting a vacuum cleaner with a water filter is the best way to trap dust, bacteria, and allergens.
This is a must, especially if your space has a higher level of humidity and if you or a roommate is a smoker. Try to prevent smoking in the room – all that smoke is going to build up over time. Find the best air purifiers online and get yourself one that eliminates dust, and bacteria, as well as the smell of mold and smoke.
If you can’t afford an electronic air purifier, you can always turn to nature (unless you suffer from some kind of allergy). Improve the air quality by filling your room with house plants. They will absorb all the toxins and provide you with clean oxygen. The best air-filtering plants according to NASA are devil’s ivy, flamingo lily, lilyturf, English ivy, broadleaf lady palm, florist’s chrysanthemum, peace lily and red-edged dracaena.
Cleaning products detoxification
Avoid cleaners with fragrances and those with chlorine or ammonia. You can never get rid of every single bacteria, so don’t bother using such products and making your air even worse. Opt for natural non-toxic cleaning products and go green.
Once you feel the luxury of good quality air, you will never let yourself study, or spend time in a stuffy room again. Everything matters, especially the air.
This article was contributed by guest author Lana Hawkins.