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Monday, December 16, 2019

Crack a Window…Please

Crack a Window…Please
Years before it cost an arm and a leg to heat your house, my mom always advised us to leave a bed room window open, “Just a crack.”  I never really knew why this was her advice, she had lots of other strange demands.

“Don’t go into the water for at least an hour after eating.”

“Don’t sit too close to the TV.”

“Always wear a hat in the winter.”

There was a reason for most of these directives.  Some reasons were pretty vague; as in “just because” vague.  The window thing was, “the brain needs fresh air.”

In the 70’s the cost of heating your house suddenly rose to astronomical heights, astronomical at least for my wife, me, and my measly salary.  My wife paid the bills.  She was very conscience of the gas bill.  She insisted that we close all the windows in the house in the winter.

For twenty years, I suffered periodic migraine headaches in the winter.  I blamed it first on having a hangover, but then I had headaches on mornings after I had no alcohol the night before.  Then I noticed a correlation between the headaches and Chinese food.  I avoided Chinese food and mono-sodium-glutamate (MSG) and still I had headaches.  I figured it was just an issue I would have to live with from time to time for the rest of my life.

When I divorced and married wife number two the headaches left.  I figured the first wife must have been the cause of my headaches.  Too much stress, and not enough…er…release was the cause of my headaches.

But wife number two was no cakewalk stress wise.  In fact she was a living breathing stress factory.  For thirteen years I walked on eggshells in the land of crazy, and yet I never had a migraine headache.  I drank like a fish in those years and never had a hangover.  I ate Chinese weekly with extra MSG, and never had a migraine.  I did always sleep with the window open a crack.

Mom knew. 

The brain needs fresh air over night.  More to the point, the brain needs oxygen.  If your house is closed up tighter then a drum, overnight you will suck in oxygen and breath out climate changing carbon dioxide. Around five in the morning the lower oxygen air content will starve your brain.  The result is a migraine headache.

It is OK to swim right after eating.

If you watch TV from way up close you will be just fine.

A hat in the winter will keep you warm, but if you leave the house without one you will not catch cold.

When it comes to fresh air, listen to your mom. 

Open the window a crack.
Re-run from December 2013


  1. I agree with you and your mum, but that doesn't work for everyone. I leave the back door open all night so Lola can come and go from the porch as she pleases and sometimes even have a fan blowing air in my face while I sleep. But I know people who seal their houses tight as a drum and they don't get headaches. My back porch is completely closed in so burglars can't get in but it has shade cloth and insect screens so I still get plenty of fresh air.

  2. Swimming after eating was forbidden when I was a young girl, but somehow I managed to sneak food when I was on the way to the pool.
    I also had to live with the windows open no matter what the weather... Brrr!

  3. I've never heard of this. We've never had our windows open, October through March and no headaches. I used to get headaches at our old house whenever we used the wood burning fireplace, which I think is a parallel issue.

  4. I think cracking the window was all it took. Who knew? You didn't for years.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. 🎄🎁🎄

  5. So with you on this. Windows closed, heat on I can't breathe, my nose stuffs up and it's miserable (and so am I.)

  6. I'd be afraid to leave the window opened a bit, LOL, as we don't have a second story. I'd be worried about someone breaking in :) Glad its workign for you though and reducing your headaches!


  7. You may have a point. We try so hard to make our homes insulated and air tight that we have shut off our air supply. May give it a try. Don't have headaches but breathing can be a problem.

  8. We leave the window cracked in both bathrooms. I'm also a fresh air person. I sleep better.

  9. I think your mother was right and I may try it.

  10. I love a small open window, even in Winter. I love the fresh air and if it's snowing out I even love if the snow blows in on my face..silly I guess! You can swim after you eat too.

  11. I'm sure that window-cracking will be found to cause some type of global climate crisis, and be outrageously taxed, then banned. There might be a special window first, that everyone will have to buy to replace their old crackable windows.

  12. It's smart from a possible carbon monoxide angle, too. If that builds up, it can kill you. Leaving the window open a crack can save your life.

  13. I think fresh air at night is a good idea.

  14. this is beautiful read dear Joe

    either my mom and than my husband and i do the same ,after leaving bedroom we leave the window slightly opened actually both one in the back of wall too so fresh air can cross