Living in a city means dealing with harsh noises at all hours of the day. There are many effects of noise pollution, but one of the most obnoxious is the loss of precious sleep that results from the many nighttime sounds of a booming metropolis.
Loud City, So What?
You may think that everyone deals with disruptions during sleep, but those of us living in cities may be suffering more than most. Scientific research shows that people living in areas with high traffic noise get lower quality sleep. One of the causes of sleeplessness, traffic noise causes people to wake up more frequently throughout the night. Even if you aren’t waking up frequently in the night, the city sounds can still disrupt your sleep and your body. Such studies also find that people move more and experience heart rate elevations in the middle of the night when sleeping in high traffic noise areas. Some research has even suggested that chronic traffic noise during the night can increase the risk for health problems like cardiovascular disease.
Scientific studies suggest some people, including children, may be especially vulnerable to sleep disturbances due to noise pollution. Research into noise pollution effects shows that, in addition to getting lower quality sleep, children in areas with high traffic noise are more likely to experience sleepiness during the day.
How to Combat the Effects of Noise Pollution on Your Sleep
For most people, moving to a quieter part of town is not an option for combatting the effects of noise pollution. How, then, can you get better sleep without giving up your city life? The key comes from understanding why we actually wake up when a door slams in the house. Studies have shown that it isn’t the volume of a noise that rouses people; it is actually the volume of that noise relative to the background noise level.
White noise machines generate a constant source of noise that many people find soothing. These machines raise the baseline background volume, so that the sound of a door slamming isn’t quite so disruptive. Research has shown that a white noise machine can help reduce the disruptiveness of noises during sleep and can potentially minimize noise pollution effects.
Tired of waking up in the middle of the night or lying in bed trying to fall asleep? Annoyed by late-night sirens or car horns? Feeling like loud noises are one of the causes of sleeplessness? Try using a white noise machine and see if you can get a better night’s sleep.