You need to be aware of the sounds that can disrupt your slumber.
Sound and noise are a fact of life, and many types are simply unavoidable. The nature of sleep is affected by noise. When you sleep, the auditory system still monitors the environment around the sleeper and can arouse in response to potential danger. In present times, noise-disturbed sleep is a cause of considerable annoyance, with potential health and well-being effects. Many research workers in the field consider sleep disturbance due to environmental noise to be the most detrimental to health.
Over the last two decades, there is strong evidence that sleep plays a significant role in neuroplasticity and neural network reorganization supports learning and memory. Training and learning new motor skills and knowledge can change the characteristics of sleep, which can improve memory performance. Disturbed sleep following a stroke in animals and humans can impair stroke outcomes. Sleep disorders (e.g. sleep-disordered breathing, insomnia, and restless legs syndrome) are frequent in stroke patients and associated with worse recovery outcomes.
The idea of sound machines or white noise to condition external noises is supported by science, too. One team of researchers found white noise helped reduce awakenings to common intensive care unit sounds, by smoothing the difference between baseline and peaks in noise. An older study of infants found that 80% fell asleep within five minutes in the white noise group, compared to only 25% in the control group without noise.
These 5 helpful steps that you can take to minimize noise pollution and sleep better.
1. Use white noise to create a consistent, gentle sound. White noise can come from a fan, sound conditioner, white noise machine, air purifier, or other soothing sounds. Experts vary, but below 50 to 65 decibels or so is considered maximum. For reference, that’s similar to or quieter than a soft shower or normal conversation.
2. Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. Remember, excessively loud snoring or snoring that sounds like the person stops breathing can be a sign of sleep apnea. You or your partner should bring up with a doctor who can recommend other solutions.
3. Turn loud sounds off on all smartphones and devices before bed to minimize disruptions.
4. Double-pane windows and heavy blinds can dampen some street noise, and there are also different types of acoustic tiles and insulation that could further reduce noise levels from outdoors.
5. If you notice that you wake up often during the night, or you feel less than well-rested in the morning, consider tracking your sleep using an app (e.g. SleepBot or Sleep Cycle). The sleep app can record any disruptions while you sleep, which can give you an insight into noises that may be waking you up or disturbing your slumber.
You will gain many benefits when you get a night of quality sleep. You will find a boost in your immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, or more. Know that you want to get a better sleep tonight!
Sources: How Sound Impacts Your Sleep Cycle (amerisleep.com) https://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2010;volume=12;issue=47;spage=70;epage=76;aulast=Hume & https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451994416300141
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