Decades of scientific research has concluded that your "sleep life" can have strong effects on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. And when you're not getting the sleep you need and deserve, your health and other areas of your life can suffer. Your quality of sleep can be affected by a variety of things, from stress and diet to outside factors like weather and even noise pollution. But how do noise pollution and sleep overlap, and more importantly, what steps can you take to reduce noise pollution when you're trying to get some winks?
Noise Pollution: The BasicsWhat Is Noise Pollution and What Causes It? Noise pollution is defined by the Environmental Pollution Centers as the "regular exposure to elevated sound levels" that lead to negative consequences and effects. The average human can withstand up to 70 dB of continuous sound and noise without experiencing any effects, but today's noise pollution means some people are exposed to extended periods of sounds and noise 85 dB or above. As an industrial society's problem, noise pollution is caused by a variety of man-made or unnatural factors. Sometimes noise pollution can barely seem noticeable, as it is so ingrained in our society today. Noise pollution that creates damaging sound can be caused by things such as the following:
- Traffic, vehicles, emergency personnel, pedestrians, etc.
- Construction work and heavy machinery
- Train stations, industrial noises, airports, etc.
- Household noises like appliances, TVs, stereos, and fans
What Effects Can Noise Pollution Have?You may associate loud noise with simple annoyance, but noise pollution can be hazardous to your well-being in more than one way. In fact, research shows that noise pollution can have direct effects on hearing loss, as well as elevated blood levels and hypertension. Children who are affected by noise pollution may be more prone to a variety of development, psychological, and physical effects. And when noise pollution becomes a part of your everyday life, sleep disturbances can become a common problem. Noise pollution can decrease productivity and focus, and increase feelings of stress and anxiety.
Noise Pollution and SleepHow Sleep and Noise Pollution Are Connected Every person needs a restful night's sleep in order to stay healthy and happy. This is the time that your body rejuvenates and regenerates, and poor sleep habits can have strong effects on your physical and mental states. Noise pollution is a significant factor in many sleep issues and disturbances. At the beginning of the night, noise can stop you from falling asleep. Noise can wake you up in the middle of sleep, keep you from going back to sleep, and still bother you even if you do not wake fully. When your sleep cycles and patterns are disturbed by noise pollution, you cannot receive the sleep you need. This can lead to a variety of physical, mental, and emotional effects.
Ways to Prevent the Effects of Noise PollutionThough there may not be too much you can go to completely rid yourself of noise pollution, there are ways to find solace in your home and bedroom for a good night's sleep. Minimizing the effects of noise pollution can help you not only sleep better, but also reap the benefits of a healthy body, mind, and soul. Here are a few tips for reducing noise pollution and prevent its effects:
- Wear comfortable and safe earplugs whenever you are exposed to abnormal noise levels. You may even wear them at night to help eliminate sound altogether.
- Though it is not possible for everyone, try to live in slower, residential areas that offer less noise pollution around you. In noisy areas, choose apartments or housing with high-quality materials for soundproofing.
- When you are wearing headphones or earbuds, minimize the time spent using them and never listen to something too loud.
- Turn all of your electronic devices off before you go to bed. Close windows and curtains when possible to minimize white noise.
- Try to add some white noise, in the form of a machine or a low-noise fan, to your bedroom if you have problems with sudden noises disturbing you throughout the night.