The air is stuffy and you notice how you can concentrate less and less. Breathe deeply would be the reflex, but even that does not seem to help. There is a lack of oxygen! When we get little O2 in confined spaces, we fall into a power low. However, this can be prevented with very simple means.
Furthermore, what are the effects of oxygen deprivation on memory loss and concentration?
Oxygen Deprivation or CO2 Overflow?
Without oxygen, nothing happens in our body. Every single cell needs the vital fuel to be functional. Oxygen is next to water the absolute basis for the organism. Without O2 no metabolism. It’s that simple.
And especially the brain is dependent on an adequate supply of the valuable gas. Without oxygen, we become unconscious after about 12 seconds, after just a few minutes even the brain cells die. No wonder some people walk through the corridors like zombies after a long day in the office.
Often, not the lack of oxygen is the problem, but rather a CO2 surplus. Actually, the oxygen content of the air remains fairly constant even over several days. However, what can change rapidly is the CO2 content.
Normally, the air contains about 21 percent oxygen and only 0.04 percent carbon dioxide. This balance is massively disturbed when no fresh air is supplied for a long time. With each exhalation, we breathe even more carbon dioxide into the room, so that the CO2 content permanently increases. And the more CO2 the room air contains, the more we breathe in from the substance, which is actually a waste product of our metabolism. This puts the organism under stress and adversely affects performance.
Take-home message # 1: Not the lack of oxygen is the problem, but the increasing CO2 content of the air.
How important is Oxygen for Sleep and Memory?
During sleep, the body regenerates and processes the efforts and events of the day. The metabolism is shut down and is in sleep mode, the blood pressure drops, the body temperature goes back.
Nevertheless, the body regains energy in its sleep, stores thoughts and newly learned things, deletes the unimportant from the hard drive and gives the muscles their well-deserved relaxation. In addition, the immune system recovers and strengthens itself for the defense against intruders of all kinds.
Therefore, the air quality in the bedroom has a huge impact on whether you can use your full potential for regeneration in your sleep, or if your body is just on the back burner. The indoor air should contain a lot of oxygen and as little carbon dioxide as possible. Because a sleeping brain needs just as much O2 as a waking one.
Since you lose CO2 with each breath during the night, you should pay attention to a sufficient supply of oxygen. If you wake up more often in the morning with a headache, that could be because of the lack of oxygen.
The best thing to do before going to bed is to breathe extensively, especially if you are sleeping with the windows closed. A sleep study by the TK showed that six out of ten respondents already take the topic of ventilation in the bedroom very seriously. They ventilate the dormitory for several minutes daily before going to bed. In addition, green plants ensure a constant oxygen content in the bedroom. Then you are well looked after all night. Find out more below.
Take-home message # 2: Body and mind continue to work at night and therefore need oxygen to regenerate optimally.
Oxygen Content in the Office
No one can concentrate in stifling air. Everyone has experienced this before: several people work together all day in confined spaces, in winter the heating is running at full speed, in summer the air conditioning
Because the more people in a room absorb the oxygen from the air with each breath, the faster it is used up. At the same time, all these people are constantly breathing out CO2. The result: After a certain amount of CO2, the performance sinks and fatigue increases.
At the same time, headaches often occur, which additionally reduce your concentration.
The first step after leaving the office feels like a liberation. The lungs finally get enough fresh air and the brain is supplied with oxygen again. Therefore, a short walk during the lunch break is a true miracle cure for concentration. But why is that? Why does a lack of oxygen – or excess CO2 – have such a negative effect on memory loss?
If the room air contains too much CO2, the blood vessels begin to dilate. As a result, they try to absorb more oxygen in order to provide the organs and the brain with optimal care. This process makes you tired, and you feel increasingly flabby. However, as soon as you breathe fresh air, the vessels contract, and the O2-enriched blood can flow back into the smallest capillaries.
In addition, the rising CO2 content gets in the way of the actual sense of breathing. Because the purpose is to get rid of as much CO2 as possible with each exhalation. If you inhale more and more CO2, the body just can not keep up with the degradation of the waste product.
Take-home message # 3: Many people – a lot of CO2. Especially in offices, the carbon dioxide content of the air rises quickly and causes concentration problems and memory loss.
Why is Ventilation so Important?
After reading the negative effects of lack of oxygen on sleep and concentration, you can already answer the question yourself: Because you need oxygen.
Today, we humans spend more than 90 percent of the time in enclosed spaces, the proportion of CO2 increases with each exhalation. The rescue is waiting 24/7 right in front of your window, you just have to open it!
With ventilating not only new oxygen flows into the room, but also the CO2-portion of the air decreases and settles back to a normal level. However, this does not just happen once you open the window. To fill the entire room with fresh air, it should be ventilated for at least 10 minutes.
Chilblains, the always freezing, should be covered with something warm during the ventilation phase. Because 10 minutes of cool air is far less harmful than having no oxygen for body and mind all day. In order to keep the concentration permanently high, it is best to ventilate once every hour.
The regular fresh air supply has another effect on the room climate: the moisture content is compensated, which can prevent mold growth. Moldy corners in the bedroom or office have a negative impact on your health. Therefore, more often times a few minutes with open window endure as pests inhale.
Take-home message # 4: Ventilation compensates for the CO2 content of the room air and brings fresh oxygen into the room. Only a balanced O2 / CO2 content ensures optimal sleep and concentration.
Plants for more Oxygen
Creating a good indoor climate with enough oxygen is incredibly easy: buy a plant, pour it every few days – and your life will change.
Plants purify the air and clean it of dust particles and chemicals. They release moisture into the air, which makes our mucous membranes in the respiratory tract happy. In addition, they use CO2 in photosynthesis and convert it to O2. This has a double effect: our waste product, which we exhale with each breath, is broken down, while our vital oxygen is made available to us at the same time. The result: the oxygen content of the room air remains constant.
In the office, it helps you concentrate better and bring the mental performance you expect. With a pretty little plant in the bedroom, your organism is optimally supported during the resting phase and you wake up the next morning like newborn – or at least well recovered and regenerated.
The importance of plants for the indoor climate was even investigated by NASA in its large-scale Clean Air study. The recommendation is: A plant should be set up per 9 square meters of space. Depending on the size of the bedroom or office, it may well be a few more green roommates, so that the air is optimally balanced.
Particularly effective oxygen suppliers are hemp and aloe vera. In the office, the plants are allowed to have large leaves and grown tall, in the bedroom are suitable plants that radiate purely optically a certain peace and have soft curves.
However, since the plants themselves switch to CO2 production in the dark, you should not turn your bedroom into a jungle. Two or three plants, on the other hand, perfectly promote the indoor climate and compensate for the humidity.
Incidentally, the positive effect on the productivity of plants in offices was examined in a study in the Netherlands and Great Britain. It could be proven that the employees in rooms with greenery were much more concentrated at work and provided better results than those in offices without plants.
Take-home message # 5: Green plants purify the air, convert CO2 into O2 and balance out the humidity. Plants should not be missing in any room, because they promote sleep and concentration.