There’s nothing more frustrating on a work night than being woken up to the sound of your neighbors’ dog barking or a siren on a police car rushing off from Lake Charles Police Department waking you up. But did you know that nighttime noise pollution can have long-term effects on your health?
Why Good Sleep Is Important
Poor sleep can take a major toll on your body. It can result in memory issues, trouble concentrating, mood changes, accidents, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, poor balance and a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease. One study showed that poor sleep from aviation noise can adversely affect academic performance as well.
How Noise Affects the Sleep Cycle
The sleep cycle is made up of four stages:
- Stages 1 and 2 are both light sleep.
- Stage 3 is deep slow-wave sleep, which is when your muscles relax and your pulse and breathing rate slow down. This stage is important for your immune function.
- Stage 4 is rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when you dream. This stage is important for memory, learning and creativity.
Nighttime noise lengthens stage 1 and decreases stages 3 and 4. It also triggers the production of adrenaline and cortisol, your body’s natural alarm system, raising your heart rate and blood pressure. All this happens without you waking up.
You’re Still at Risk if You Have Hearing Loss
You may think that if you have hearing loss, you’re not at risk of your sleep being disturbed by nighttime noise, but this is not the case.
A scoping review from 2019 found that hearing loss is linked to insomnia and other sleep disturbances. While the relationship to noise is not yet known, study author Nathan Clarke explains, “From an evolutionary perspective, it is not unreasonable to suppose that people with hearing loss may have to work harder to process dangerous nighttime noise. However, the available data is sparse.”
How to Sleep Well
To reduce the risk of exposure to noise pollution, you can wear earplugs, earbuds or headphones to bed. Some styles are made just for sleep, so you can sleep soundly and comfortably.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call the Hearing Center of Lake Charles today.