Candles undoubtedly offer a pleasant and relaxing mood. It also helps add warmth to your room. But since it’s an open flame, maintaining safe candle burning practices is essential for your safety and health.
If you love scented candles, you probably love to wind down for the evening with candles giving you a relaxing ambiance as you head to bed. You may want to carry on this ambiance as you close your eyes and fall asleep – after all, it’s comforting, the light is just enough to sleep with, and the scent is relaxing.
So, is it safe to sleep with a lighted candle? No, it isn’t! How bad would it be if you fell asleep as the scented candle still burns? Learn about it here.
Can Candles Help you Sleep?
For some people, candles can really help put them in a sleepy mood. First of all, the light of the candle is visually relaxing. The dim light evokes feelings of calm. And since the light is not too bright, it helps the brain relax.
In addition, the scent of a candle can be very relaxing. Candles that help with sleep include scented candles and therapy candles with different scent options that are meant to relax and help you get to sleep. It can be used at any time of the day, but of course, it’s preferable to use during the night time, just before going to bed.
Why is it Important to Extinguish Candles before Sleep?
As mentioned earlier, there are different risks associated with unsupervised candles. Many things can go wrong and result in irreversible damage. Here are some of the risks and potential hazards that come along with burning a candle all night.
1. Candles can be knocked over.
What if you or a family member wake up suddenly at night to go to the bathroom, and they’re too sleepy to check if they’re walking in a clear spot? They might knock over a candle on their way, causing fire or injury.
Even if you live alone, there’s still a risk of this happening. A blowing curtain or direct wind can knock a candle over if it’s lit near a window. If you have a pet, it might be responsible for it.
Also, natural disasters like an earthquake or tornado can happen in the middle of the night, rattling your shelves and furniture just enough to shake the candle off. Though it might be unlikely, it happens more often than you think, and it brings a high price to pay for a bit of relaxation and ambiance.
2. Nearby objects can catch fire.
Curtains, flowers in a vase, plants, clothing, wood, lampshades – these are just a few of the things that can always seem to be drawn like a moth to the flame. Even if you do your absolute best to keep your candle away from flammable items, anything may happen while you’re asleep and cause the flame to come in contact with a flammable object.
3. Glass can break.
A popular material for a candle holder is glass. While glass isn’t precisely flammable, it can crack or shatter under temperatures higher than a particular threshold. If it burns long enough or reaches all the way down to the bottom, it may create an atmosphere hot enough for the glass to break. In this scenario, the jar can break or burst and let out the fire and start a potential hazard. Also, if the glass explodes from the heat, the shards can go in all directions, causing injury.
4. Wax can leak.
If the glass happens to break, one of the consequences is dripping melted wax. Though it’s not likely to cause a fire once it spills out, the wax can stain or burn the surfaces underneath it. Once it hardens, it can be difficult to remove, like in a carpet, rug, or tablecloth.
5. There’s a chance of candle flashover or secondary ignition.
When melted wax catches flame from the burning wick, it can cause a quick flutter, and a small blaze of fire can start within seconds. If you’re awake, this type of fire can be extinguished, but when you’re asleep, this small blaze can spread and increase by several folds, leading to flames spreading to nearby objects.
6. Candles can be toxic.
Some candle waxes can be toxic because they release harmful substances and chemicals in the air as they burn. Like scented candles and those made of paraffin, some candles release chemicals that can lead to indoor air pollution. When you stay in this place for a long period, prolonged exposure can cause your respiratory system problems. If the room is unventilated, the risk is even higher.
It’s even possible to contract carbon monoxide poisoning if you’re burning candles in unventilated rooms for longer than the recommended length of time.
How to Burn Candles Safely
If you are fond of lighting scented candles, do it right by doing the right things and taking precautionary measures.
- Place the burning candle on a stable surface to prevent it from being knocked over.
- Make sure the candle is on a significant distance away from the curtains and windows.
- Keep the candle isolated and keep it away from anything – flammable item or not. This will help prevent any secondary fires or damage to your other objects that might be affected when put near a hot flame.
- Make sure the room is ventilated before lighting a candle.
- Read the manufacturer’s label and safety instructions before using it. The candle maker usually offers advice of a recommended burning time and stick to it.
- Do not leave a candle burning unattended or kept within reach of pets, small children, and drafts.
- Wicks that are crooked or too long will cause the candle to burn unevenly or emit soot. It helps if you trim the wick first to ¼ inch in length.
- Extinguish the flame by snuffing it rather than blowing on it.
How Long Can You Leave a Candle Burning?
A candle must only be allowed to burn for about four hours and not more than that. The reason behind it is that carbon will start accumulating on the wick after four hours, making it unstable. The flame will be too big for the wick, which causes it to start releasing soot in the air. This is the reason why you must never leave candle lit overnight.
Alternatives for Candles
There are many other safer options for getting a similar mood as using candles. Though you know that real candles can provide the best mood, you want to make sure that your environment is safe when you fall asleep. If you’re sure that you might leave your candles unsupervised, opt for these options:
Flameless candles are basically battery-operated lights in the shape of a candle. They have an artificial glass or plastic cover that imitates the look of candle wax, with a small bulb inside in the shape of a fiery blaze. Some are even made to be realistic with fake fluttering flames, while another option comes with various dimness/brightness, colors, or timer.
The best part about this type of candle is it’s cheap, and when you forget to turn it off before sleep, the worst thing that might happen is that the battery will die.
A lava lamp offers a unique mood to your bedroom, as it can give off changing light. It offers a soft, relaxing mood light, and you can choose a lava lamp with color and design that suits your interior.
The salt lamp has become popular lately for a good reason. It’s bright enough to give a little mood to the room, but it won’t feel like the light is glaring in when you wake up in the middle of the night to pee. The thing about salt lamps is they come in multiple sizes and irregular shapes, and each has its own hue that adds a mystifying effect to the bedroom.
Himalayan salt lamps are among the most popular, and it’s even known to have various benefits like helping with allergies, reducing anxiety, promoting sleep, cleaning the air, and improving your mood. It also poses minimal risk to the user, as the thick shell of salt keeps the bulb inside safe.
If you’re lighting a scented candle both for the scent and the light, try using an oil diffuser along with the three lighting options above. Mechanical oil diffusers are a better way to diffuse your wanted scent into a room without the risk of potential damage. You can also reap other benefits of any essential oil you may use, besides the enjoyment of its scent. All you have to do is to turn it on, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and let it do its job. The soothing scents can help you sleep and can help you feel like you’re relaxing in a spa.
If you prefer an option that doesn’t need to be turned on or off, liquid air fresheners are a great option. Reed diffusers and scented plug-ins are excellent for use with oil-based fragrances, dispersing and evaporating scents into the air.