The Best Humidifiers to Help You Breathe Easy at Night


Your sleep mask is on and you’re wrapped up in super-soft sheets, as soothing white noise plays in the background. But having one of the best humidifiers for bedrooms could make drifting off even dreamier. Between staying consistent with your skin-care regimen and actually getting enough shut-eye, mastering a good night’s sleep isn’t the easiest feat, but bringing a quality humidifier into your room has the potential to benefit your sleep quality in big ways. 

Whether you’re battling dry skin, want to clear out your sinuses, or are a millennial plant mom looking to keep your green babies thriving, a humidifier might do the trick. Ahead, we rounded up the best humidifiers for bedrooms—along with answers to the most common questions about the multipurpose devices.

What does a humidifier do?

Humidifiers release either cool mist, water vapor, or ultrasonic frequencies that signal water droplets into a space to increase moisture levels in the air, also known as humidity. According to Michael Breus, Ph.D., aka The Sleep Doctor, they can help “improve dry throats, dry mouths, and have been known to decrease congestion.” The first humidifier was released in the early 1960s, but they’ve come a long way in terms of functionality and design in the age of technology.

When should you use a humidifier?

Humidifiers are generally used in the cold season, thanks to their ability to ease dry, chapped lips, scratchy throats, and parched skin. However, some people use them to relieve discomfort caused by pollen and mold in the spring and summer, so it’s not unheard-of to keep them running in warmer months or year-round especially if you have allergies. The most popular time to use a humidifier is while you sleep at night, but there are portable (and cute!) humidifiers designed with desk spaces in mind.

Does a humidifier help with a cough or allergies?

In short: yes. Adding moisture to dry air can help ease cough or congestion, but be wary of overuse, warns the Cleveland Clinic, noting that too-high humidity levels can actually worsen allergies and asthma, and promote the growth of mold, bacteria, dust mites, and mildew. Following the maintenance instructions for your machine will help to keep it clean, ensuring it’s not emitting harmful bacteria into the air and making your health problems worse.

How close should a humidifier be from your bed?

This doesn’t matter much when you’re dealing with cool-mist humidifiers, but you should place warm-mist humidifiers (i.e., steam vaporizers) further away from your bed for safety reasons, especially while you sleep. If you’re using it in a kid’s room, keep it far enough away so that the child can’t get to the cord or the water bin.

How do you clean a humidifier?

According to Consumer Reports, you should clean your humidifier daily. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, so it’s vital to “empty, rinse, and dry the base tray or reservoir before refilling.” If you want to take it a step further, disinfect your device with a bleach solution weekly, but refer to the manufacturer’s instruction manual before doing so.

Can you put essential oils in a humidifier?

Not unless it’s designed specifically for essential oils. If the manufacturer doesn’t list this as a function for the device, refrain from adding anything but water. Most humidifiers are made of plastic that can’t withstand the compounds of essential oil, so opt for a diffuser with the distinct purpose of aromatherapy instead.

So you’re ready to bring a humidifier into your oasis of slumber? Look no further than the 11 best humidifiers to shop now.


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