We’ve long known that some people are light sleepers while others snooze right through extremely loud noises. Though fairly small, a new study shed some interesting light on how sleeping in noisy areas may affect your body. According to this study, your sleeping body registers the effects of noise by temporarily raising your blood pressure. The study monitored a group of volunteers who lived near four busy European airports hosting plenty of inbound and outbound flights every night. Each participant was fitted with a blood pressure monitoring device, which was programmed to gather blood pressure info at 15-minute intervals. To complete their preparations, researchers outfitted each volunteer’s bedroom with a sound recorder and a decibel meter. This allowed the researchers to record all background noise entering the room, along with time and volume indicators.
Astonishingly, researchers found that noise events correlated precisely with spikes in subjects’ blood pressure. These findings covered all types of noise events, from airport noise to traffic sounds or snoring. As one might reasonably expect, researchers noted that louder sound events corresponded with more pronounced spikes in blood pressure. Though most people intuitively realize that it is better to sleep without interruption, it is more surprising to learn that noises can affect your body even as you remain fully unconscious. For people who suffer from abnormally high blood pressure and heart disease at the same time, this topic is naturally of great interest.
Nevertheless, it is too early to draw too many conclusions from this study. Although this study is a step forward, researchers still don’t completely understand the relationship between noise and hypertension. Co-authored by Dr. Jarup of Imperial College London, this recent study only featured 140 study subjects. It may take a much larger study to produce definitive answers regarding this important topic. It is interesting to contrast this study with an earlier sleep study from the same organization. The earlier study monitored a much larger group, which numbered in the thousands. In the previous study, researchers found that regular exposure to night-time highway noise increased hypertension risk for men. However, this effect did not extend to women. Mysterious results like these demonstrate that we have a lot to learn about the human body.
Fortunately, high-quality foam earplugs help a lot when it comes to reducing night noise. To achieve quieter sleep without cutting yourself off from the world, consider wearing one earplug when you retire. This will significantly reduce your noise exposure without leaving you totally unresponsive to stimuli. Remember that there is more than one way to put in an earplug. You’ll want to use a method that ensures a tight seal in your ear cavity. If your foam earplugs fall out of your ear routinely while you sleep, there’s a good chance you’re not putting them in properly.