Noise Pollution Is Killing Your Sleep - Here’s What You Can Do About It
As a person who lives life to the fullest, you know how valuable sleep is. That's why you make a conscious effort to prepare your bedroom, your body, and your mind to get the best sleep possible.
But what if you're doing everything you're "supposed" to be doing, and still waking up the next day feeling tired, grumpy, and seriously frustrated?
Chances are, outside factors are to blame.
One of the biggest culprits of sleep sabotage?
Noise pollution, whether it comes from inside and/or outside your home. Here, we'll explain how noise pollution negatively impacts your sleep -- and tell you what you can do about it.
What Is Noise Pollution?
Simply put, noise pollution is any external noise or sound that disrupts your life -- and especially your sleep schedule. It can come from people, machines, animals...the list goes on.
At night, noise pollution affects sleepers differently, depending on which stage of the sleep cycle you’re in.
Though you're more likely to be woken up by noise pollution during the lighter stages of the night, it's the noises that hit you during your deepest sleep state that do the most damage.
Additionally, people respond to different types of noise pollution depending on their personal priorities -- which are often emotionally-charged.
For example, new parents might wake up instantly when they hear a noise that, in their sleeping state, they interpret as a baby crying. Or, a worker at a startup may shoot up in the middle of the night because the noise pollution disturbing them sounds like an email alert or work text.
The Consequences Of Noise Pollution
According to the World Health Organization, noise pollution may have a far greater impact on both the quality of our sleep and our overall health than we initially realized (1).
Because when we're awake, it's much easier to manage how we react to noise and other stimuli. However, during the sleeping state, we can't control how our body reacts to noise pollution. Since our eyes are shut while we sleep, it's our ears that are the most sensitive to this noise -- and therefore at the greatest risk of damage.
Essentially, because we can't "turn off" our ears at night, we're much more likely to snap awake when we hear even the slightest noise. This is because our other senses aren't available to help us to accurately assess whether or not the noise constitutes a threat to our safety.
This means that our sleep can't "restore" us as well as it used to -- which is why so many of us feel exhausted the next day.
Additionally, some studies suggest that noise-interrupted sleep can limit our motor skills and creativity. It may impair judgment, and even make it difficult to remember things.
Finally, according to ScienceDirect, there are additional biological consequences of noise pollution (2). These include an increase in your body's production of adrenaline, a faster heart rate, and even the potential for an increased risk of diabetes, depression, and hyperactivity.
Need More Zzzs?
Get FREE tips on sleeping better and live a happier life!
How to Prevent Noise Pollution From Ruining A Good Night's Sleep
Depending on your personal preferences, there are two possible steps you can take to eliminate noise pollution during the nighttime (or any other time you like.)
The first option is to purchase a white noise machine. Essentially, this machine “cancels out” noise pollution by playing a non-distracting, constant sound. Usually, white noise machines sound like a fan blowing or an air conditioner running.
The machines not only block out external noises while you’re trying to fall asleep, they also prevent you from hearing environmental sounds that are especially triggering -- like car horns -- during your deepest stages of sleep.
If you don’t want to invest in a white noise machine, there's a wide selection of white noise videos on YouTube. They'll help block out noise and fall asleep.
The second option is better suited for those who need complete silence to be able to fall asleep.
Believe it or not, a simple pair of earplugs will work perfectly to counter noise pollution.
Earplugs are usually a much more affordable option than white noise machines, and are also a practical choice for those who often sleep in transit or take power naps outside their home environment (after all, you can’t exactly bring your white noise machine with you on the airplane.)
They work by safely expanding in your ear canal and completely sealing it off, so that sound can’t hit your eardrum and wake you up. They’re comfortable, and chances are that once you get used to them, you won’t feel them at all.
If you’re concerned that you’ll sleep through your alarm with earplugs in, invest in a vibrating alarm clock. Many earplug devotees also set their coffee pot timers in the morning, so the pleasant smell of that morning cup of joe wakes them up.
Need More Nighttime Advice?
Of course, noise pollution is hardly the only thing that keeps us up at night.
In the meantime, crank up that white noise machine or put in your earplugs, and get the good night’s sleep you deserve.
(1) “Providing Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region” World Health Organization, www.who.int/europe/activities/providing-environmental-noise-guidelines-for-the-european-region, Last accessed December 1, 2022.
(2) “Environmental noise and sleep disturbances: A threat to health?” ScienceDirect, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1984006314000601, Last accessed December 1, 2022.
😱 Did you know noise pollution during sleep is bad for your health? Learn how to reduce it!
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.