How home and work environment affects us

What happens when there’s not enough oxygen?

If CO2 levels in the room are too high, you get tired and wake up feeling sleepy. Have you noticed that people feel particularly out of it in the winter? The reason is simple: we close the window at night when it’s cold outside. Keep in mind that 2 people in a closed room for 2 hours will generate enough CO2 to make things uncomfortable.

Here’s an example. One user had energy levels drop below 40% for three days in a row. We were trying to figure out why and noticed that CO2 levels were higher than usual. Turned out the user was having sex before going to sleep, with the windows closed. Mystery solved.

CO2 levels are measured in ppm, or parts per million.

  • The ideal number is 450-600 ppm. That’s what you get when you go outside.
  • The norm is 600-1,000 ppm. Anything above this will make you feel sleepy.
  • If the number is over 2,000 ppm, the room feels stuffy and 70% of people have trouble focusing and staying productive.
  • CO2 levels affect everyone differently. For example, children are typically more sensitive than adults. Frequent colds, a weak immune system, or a cough that won’t go away can be symptoms related to high CO2 levels.Some other symptoms:
    • Trouble sleeping, insomnia
    • Feeling exhausted in the mornings
    • Coffee irritates you instead of helping you wake up
    • You feel apathetic and a bit depressed
    • Trouble focusing or staying productive

How noise, temperature, and humidity affect me?

  • A noisy office space impairs your ability to focus. Research shows that working in a noisy environment can lower your concentration by up to 66%. There is no recommended noise limit as it all depends on individual characteristics. Some of us work better in silence while others might find music helpful for concentration. But if you are more productive when it is quiet, you can always use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.
  • You make more mistakes when it’s cold. A study showed that office workers made 44% more mistakes when the temperature dropped from 77 to 68 degrees. The problem is that when you’re cold, your body uses up the energy to keep you warm. This means you have less energy to focus and think.
  • Bad lighting also leads to a drop in productivity. Recommended lighting level in office spaces is 300-500 lux. If you feel like there is not enough lighting in your office, try using a table lamp,
  • Low humidity makes it difficult to breathe and can be dangerous for people with asthma or allergies.

How to check air quality

Gadgets for your home:

  • Home weather stations: NetatmoFoobotAwair – monitor air quality and let you know when something doesn’t look right.
  • Withings smart scale – monitor temperature and CO2 levels.
  • Humidifiers help keep dry air away at home and at the office.
11 Sep. 2019
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