Is It Bad to Sleep With Candles On? Options for the Ambiance

Is Sleeping with Candles Bad?

There is undoubtedly a pleasant mood when burning candles during the dark time. Furthermore, some therapy candles can affect the atmosphere even more positively. Even when there are these benefits, should you leave candles to burn when you go to sleep?

So is it bad to sleep with the candles on? Yes, it is! You should always extinguish all candles before you go to sleep. If you are burning some scented candles at night, you should extinguish them before going to bed. Furthermore, even if a candle is in a safe glass holder, it needs to be extinguished before you sleep.

Here you can find some official Candle Safety Rules of the National Candle Association stating that you should always keep a burning candle within sight.

But Why It Is so Important to Extinguish All Candles Before Bed?

First of all, it is about safety.

Even when there is a small candle burning, it is an open flame, which can accidentally spread a big fire.

If any candles are left burning by themselves, they can cause a fire even if you have taken safety precautions in advance. You need to understand that burning a candle anywhere near flammable material can cause a fire quite easily.

Also, even if the candles are not near any flammable material, the risk of the candle falling over for some reason, such as your pet pushing it or the wind blowing from the open window, is always there.

The fire might start quite easily, if it catches bedding, clothes, or for example books.

How about letting the candle burn out by itself, if there is just a bit left to burn. Can’t you just leave it to burn out while you sleep? Or if you have a candle that inevitably extinguishes itself after burning a certain amount of time, such as a candle stand that will extinguish the candle automatically when there is around one inch left?

Even in these cases, the same risks are still there. The flame of a candle can spread for any reason, and you should not let the candle burn by itself even if it will burn out soon after you fall asleep.

Another important aspect related to safety is what happens when a candle is burning. The burning candle releases some dangerous gases in the air, and the air in your house might turn bad. Especially, if you have several candles are burning in the room, you should consider the following:

Can Candles Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

It is possible, so you need to make sure that you do the right preparations before burning candles in any space. When burning one candle in a properly ventilated area, it will not be harmful enough to cause poisoning.

In any case, you should read the instructions that you got when buying the candle. Usually, the instructions state how long you can burn the candle safely, and other crucial instructions. One recommendation is to burn candles no more than one hour each time and keep a long enough break before you start burning candles again. It depends on the type of the candle, as well as on how many candles you are burning at once.

So remember to read the instructions carefully!

Scent Candle Warnings

“In the perfect scenario, a person would burn their candles for four hours each time and not more than once every 24 hours to prolong the life of that candle. Burning for more than four hours can cause the wick to form a mushroom, or carbon deposit, on the tip and the more carbon, the more soot and smoke.” – Harpers Bazaar

But the question about carbon monoxide poisoning is more likely related to how much oxygen there is in the house, and how big the space where the candles are burning.

Is It Safe to Burn a Candle in a Closed Room?

The danger might emerge if the candle is burning in a very tightly closed room with several candles burning at the same time for a long period. In that case, the poisoning can be possible. So again, it is very crucial to take care of proper ventilation in the place where you are burning candles.

There are other risks, too. Here is just one real-life example: My mom told me one dangerous example from the time when she was young, and she lived in a house with her family. Her younger sister was reading a book at night by candlelight, and she fell asleep with the candle still burning. Soon she woke up and noticed that her hair was on fire.

Luckily she noticed the fire fast, and she was able to stop the fire immediately so that nothing more serious happened.

There were almost ten people in the house, so the risk of a big accident was very big.

So this experience obviously helped the family to be more careful with candles and sleeping.

The only case when you may let candles burn when you are going to sleep is if there is someone else still up, who will extinguish the candles after you have fallen asleep. Make sure that they know about the candles and are responsible enough to take care of them.

To make sure that the candle won’t fall and cause any unnecessary accident (when there is someone awake to watch it!) it is good to use a safe candle holder, such as a glass jar, so that the burning candle is on a stable surface and safe enough.

Candle in Glass Jar

How to Burn a Candle in a Glass Jar?

Burning a candle in a glass jar is usually a safer option. Anyway, there are some things to remember, even when you are using a glass jar to make it safer to burn candles.

  • Make sure that the top surface of the candle is about an inch lower than the edge of the jar
  • Trim the wick to a proper length: around ¼ inch is usually the best length
  • Remember to take care of the ventilation
  • Don’t burn out the candle, but rather extinguish it before the candle wax has burnt entirely

Can Candles Help You Sleep?

For many people, they indeed do. However, once again, it is crucial to make sure that the candles will be extinguished before you fall asleep.

But how, then, can candles help you to sleep?

For first, the light of a candle is relaxing. The dim light of a candle usually makes us feel smooth and calm. Because the light of a candle is not too bright, it more likely gives a signal to your brain to relax. It is similar to the light from a fireplace but in a smaller size, and you might want to use several candles to get in the right mood. Just keep in mind: the more candles in the room, the more risky it is, especially if you fall asleep.

On the other hand, the scent of a candle can be relaxing. Especially, therapy candles or scented candles with several different scent options are meant to relax and even help you to get to sleep.

This kind of candles can be used any time of the day, but many people want to use them at the night time, just before going to bed.

To get a pleasant experience, you probably want to choose a candle with a scent that is best for you and makes you more relaxed. So testing different scents may be useful. In any case, remember the risks and take care of the safety first!

How About If You Would Like to Get a Similar Mood Without the Risks of Candles Burning?

There are other, safer options to get a similar mood as using candles.

Even though you know that the real candle can provide the best mood for you, you want to make sure that your environment is safe when you fall asleep.

Especially, if you tend to fall asleep very quickly and you know that there is a risk you forget the candles burning, you may want some alternative options to make sure you can sleep safely.

Reading a book in the candlelight may be relaxing and make the reading feel more pleasant. However, if you notice any tendency to fall asleep while reading the book, then you should think about other lighting options.

Luckily, nowadays there are some good options to use instead of candles.

Flameless Candles

For instance, flameless candles, or electric candles, are a cheap and a much safer option. They can provide a pretty similar kind of a light compared to the real ones. Some electric candles can even imitate the movement of the candle flame, so the mood can be almost as good as with the real candles.

Some electric candles look pretty much like a real candle, and they are powered by a small battery.

Also, there are light bulbs that imitate the shape of a real candle and even imitate the flame movements a bit.

These kinds of electric candles can provide you a relaxing feeling just like the real candles do.

Furthermore, using a red light bulb may provide a lighting mood quite similar to real candles.

One option is a lava lamp, which can provide a changing light to create quite a unique mood to your bedroom.

So it is essential to get the right shade of the light, so that it won’t interrupt the process of falling asleep. Primarily, it is recommendable to avoid the “blue light” that often comes from normal home lighting, as well as from TV and mobile phone screens.

How About If You Wish to Have a Similar Scent To a Scented Candle?Reed Diffuser

There are many options to have a sweet scent without scented candles. Similar kinds of fragrances that are used in scented candles can be produced by using reed diffuser or air freshener spray. These ways of providing a nice smell to your home are much safer than using scented candles.

Regardless, just as with the scented candles, it is vital to select the type of scents that are safe and good quality, so that they won’t cause any health issues to you or your family.

If you want to enjoy some scent and a relaxing mood before bed, one option is to first burn some candles, maybe scent candles, and when you are going to bed you extinguish the candles, and you can spray some air freshener of a similar scent to your bedroom, so that the same scent mood can continue until you fall asleep.

What you may want to do when selecting an air freshener is to choose a scent that is not too strong but not too light either, so that the smell will be enjoyable but will not hinder the process of falling asleep.

To get more ideas for scents, read more from here.

Related Questions:

Where to Burn Candles Safely?

When burning candles inside, it is crucial to carefully select the places where you burn candles.

  • The first rule is to place candles far away from any flammable objects, such as any paper, clothes, and bedding.
  • Make sure that the surface where you burn candles is also safe. Don’t put any flammable objects under the candle.
  • Make sure that there is enough space where you are burning candles: a small, cluttered, or poorly ventilated room might not be the best option.

Do Glass Candles Burn Themselves Out?

Yes, they can, if the candle burns down to the end of the wick and the wax. But it is highly recommended not to let the candle burn down. Instead, you should always extinguish the candle before its wax has burned entirely.

When burning any candle, it is important to take care of safety. Even if the candle is in a safely glass jar, it should not be let to burn down by itself.

How to Extinguish a Candle Safely?Candle Snuffer

The most recommend way to extinguish a candle is to use a proper candle snuffer.

How to use a candle snuffer:

  • You should place the candle snuffer from up to down over the candle wick.
  • Keep the candle snuffer on the wick for a few seconds, until the flame has extinguished entirely.
  • After the flame is extinguished, stand a bit further away from the candle so that you don’t inhale the smoke.

Traditionally, many people have had a habit of extinguishing candles by blowing them out. There are some crucial things to know about this method too. These steps make it more functional to extinguish candles by blowing:

  • Go close enough to the candle wick, just about a few inches away, and keep your mouth on the same level as the wick.
  • Keep your lips firmly together and breath in deep.
  • Blow with your lips tight, releasing just a thin air stream, so that the wick will be extinguished with one gust.
  • Don’t blow with too much force so that the candle might fall, the wax might spread, or the fire might spread from the wick!
  • To avoid breathing in the smoke from the extinguished candle, move a bit further away from the candle after the flame dies out.

If you don’t manage to extinguish the flame, make sure that the direction of the air is right, and try again. Remember that safety is the most important thing!

Sources and more information:

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