Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Planes, trains and automobiles: Traffic noise disturbs sleep, affects morning performance

Date:
June 8, 2010
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
Mean reaction time on a morning psychomotor vigilance task slowed significantly by 3.6 ms after exposure to recorded traffic noise during sleep, and slowed reactions were directly and significantly related to increases in both the frequency and sound-pressure level of the nightly noise events. The sound of passing trains caused the highest awakening and arousal probabilities followed by automobile traffic and airplane noise; however, each mode of noise caused a similar level of impairment.

Nighttime noise from nearby road traffic, passing trains and overhead planes disturbs sleep and impairs morning performance, according to a research abstract presented June 8, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Results indicate that mean reaction time on a morning psychomotor vigilance task slowed significantly by 3.6 ms after exposure to recorded traffic noise during sleep, and the slowing of reaction times was directly and significantly related to increases in both the frequency and sound-pressure level of the nightly noise events. The sound of passing trains caused the highest awakening and arousal probabilities followed by automobile traffic and airplane noise. However, this ranking was not reflected in the measures of morning neurobehavioral performance, as each mode of noise caused a similar level of impairment. Furthermore, exposure to more than one of the three modes of traffic noise did not lead to stronger performance impairments than exposure to only one noise source.

"The study demonstrated that traffic noise may disturb sleep and consequently impede recuperation, as was shown by deterioration of neurobehavioral performance," said lead author Dr. Eva-Maria Elmenhorst, postdoctoral research fellow at the German Aerospace Center Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne, Germany. "The study therefore stresses the importance of sleep hygiene in terms of a quiet environment for healthy, undisturbed sleep."

Elmenhorst noted that nighttime traffic noise may have even stronger effects on the performance of people who are more susceptible to sleep disturbances. Risk groups include children, shift workers, the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions.

The study involved 72 people with an average age of 40 years. Their sleep was monitored by polysomnography for 11 consecutive nights. Recorded traffic noise from airplanes, automobiles and trains was played in the laboratory while they slept. Each mode of traffic noise consisted of eight different noise events played back at five sound pressure levels ranging from 45 to 65 A-weighted decibels for a total of 40 noise events. The study was carefully balanced so that sleeping participants were exposed to one to three modes of traffic noise each night, producing a nightly range of 40 to 120 noise events. The study design also included one control night that was free of traffic noise. Each morning after waking up, participants completed a psychomotor vigilance task, memory search task and unstable tracking task to measure neurobehavioral performance.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that traffic noise is one cause of "environmental sleep disorder," which involves an environmental disturbance that causes a complaint of insomnia or daytime sleepiness. Other common causes include bright light and temperature extremes.

White noise, which is produced by combining together all the different frequencies of sound, can be used to drown out other sounds and raise your arousal threshold so that your sleep is less disturbed. White noise is produced by box fans and oscillating fans, sound machines, and special applications for computers and smart phones.

In a study published in the February issue of the journal International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Elmenhorst reported that daytime performance was significantly less accurate after nighttime exposure to aircraft noise. In a 2009 study in the journal Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, Elmenhorst and colleagues reported on the testing of a simulated "Segmented Continuous Descent Approach," a new noise-reduced approach for aircraft landings.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Planes, trains and automobiles: Traffic noise disturbs sleep, affects morning performance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608091848.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2010, June 8). Planes, trains and automobiles: Traffic noise disturbs sleep, affects morning performance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608091848.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Planes, trains and automobiles: Traffic noise disturbs sleep, affects morning performance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608091848.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins