It can be frustrating when you’re woken up by your neighbors’ barking dog or an ambulance rushing to Sentara Hampton Roads CarePlex. But did you know that even sounds that don’t wake you up can impact your sleep, and therefore your health?
Noise & the Sleep Cycle
When you fall asleep at night, you cycle through four sleep stages:
- Stages 1 and 2 are light sleep.
- Stage 3 is deep slow-wave sleep, where your muscles relax and your pulse and breathing rate slow down. This stage is critical for the health of the immune system.
- Stage 4 is rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when you dream. This stage is important for memory, learning and creativity.
Studies show that noise lengthens stage 1 sleep and decreases stages 3 and 4. Noise can also trigger a spike in the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, raising your heart rate and blood pressure. This puts your body on full alert, even while you’re asleep.
The Effects of Poor Sleep
Poor sleep quality has been linked to a number of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
One study published in 2017 in the journal Noise & Health found that aviation noise is linked to community annoyance, poor academic performance and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, in addition to poor sleep.
How to Get a Good Night’s Rest
Whether you’re aware of your poor sleep quality or not, if you live in a noisy area, it’s a good idea to try to eliminate or mask noise pollution.
Another option is to wear earplugs to bed. You can purchase disposable plugs at a drugstore or get custom-molded sleep plugs at Hampton Roads ENT.
Some people opt to wear earbuds or headphones to bed so they can listen to relaxing music or a sleep-friendly podcast without disturbing their partners.
For more information about the importance of a good night’s sleep or to schedule an appointment with a sleep expert, call Hampton Roads ENT today!