Blocking out noise with and without earplugs at night is something many people have tried. We have all been woken up by the noise, leaving us burying the head in the pillow or reaching for the earplugs. It can be a severe problem because, according to research, environmental noise can have a real impact on health, so what does it do, and how can we deal with it?
The modern world is noisy! Traffic, transport, noisy streets, neighbors, sirens, trains, TV sets, the list is endless, and if you live in an urban environment or live close to a major road or flight path, you will often be woken up by the noise.
The Health Risks of Night-time Noise Pollution
Lack of sleep caused by noise pollution can cause serious problems. Lack of sleep is linked to numerous mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Being kept awake at night raises your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline levels, so it increases feelings of stress and anger the next day.
Lack of sleep leaves you feeling tired and unable to perform and indirectly can lead to mistakes such as traffic accidents.
Being regularly disturbed by external noise at night causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to rise. According to health experts, your body never becomes accustomed to being disturbed by noise, even if your brain accepts it as being just part of modern life.
Beware; lack of sleep due to noise has been linked with a higher incidence of heart attacks and diseases related to blood pressure.
According to the World Health Organisation, who carried out research in Europe, noise pollution from roads has led to the loss of one million years of the life of otherwise healthy Europeans.
How Loud is Too Loud?
According to research, a level of 55 decibels is enough to disrupt many sleepers. This is the equivalent to light traffic noise or conversational speech. An alarm clock is usually 80 decibels, but with the average emergency siren kicking in at 115 decibels and a passing motorbike as high as 100 decibels, if you live in a busy area, you are highly likely to be woken up from your sleep.
Sudden noises are more likely to wake you than low-level background noise. However, we are all different, and a noise that affects one sleeper may not disturb another, so in many cases, you can be left fuming and lying awake all night while your partner sleeps peacefully.
This will be made worse if your partner snores or suffers from sleep apnoea, adding to the noise pollution in your bedroom.
Whether it is a snoring partner or a motorway, your only solution is to block out the noises that disturb your sleep, and for this, you have a range of options.
Blocking Out Noise with and without Earplugs
Earplugs are the most obvious choice to block out noise and sleep in silence, but they are not the only solution.
You can also use sound to block out external noise, and this can have very positive effects on health.
A white noise machine, for example, provides a steady restful noise that is enough to mask external noise pollution, and many people find this very effective.
You can also listen to natural sounds through sleep headphones, such as the sound of the wind blowing, raindrops, or the sound of the sea.
Another option is to listen to peaceful music through headphones or even through a sleep pillow designed for this purpose.
If you are regularly disturbed by noise at night, the most important thing is to act now so that you can be sure of getting a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep is a significant health issue and should not be ignored, and although many people do not take this issue seriously, all the health authorities agree it is a serious problem that can lead to life-threatening repercussions.
The good news is that with so many solutions on the market to block out noise with or without headphones, you can be confident that you will find the right one that works for you.