Noise and sleep disturbance

Alessandro Bracco
February 15, 2019

Find out what a bad night’s sleep does to your body, and how you can remedy it.

Sleeping boy

Whether it’s blaring car engines out on the street or loud neighbours, we’ve all had to put up with a bit of noise pollution every now and then. Exposure to noise can cause auditory damage such as hearing loss. However, there are even more health problems due to noise pollution that can be observed when our sleep is affected at night. 

Sleep is not only critical for daytime brain function, but it also plays an important role in allowing our bodies to repair and recover themselves from a hard day’s work, so that they can continue performing at tip top condition.

The desire to block road noise has never been greater than when we are trying to get some sleep. Noise during nighttime disturbs our slumber and spoils the recovery phases of the human body. This could result in adverse effects. For example, it could impact the hormonal changes that regulate our glucose levels as we sleep, which would lead to reduced glucose tolerance and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes (Tasali et al, 2007).


Research has also shown that noise induced sleep disturbances can significantly elevate the risks for a vast majority of other diseases — especially those related to the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems. What’s more, people experiencing interrupted sleep may find themselves at greater risk of depression, putting a strain on their mental health (Niemann and Maschke, 2004).

Your instinct might tell you to resort to ear plugs or white noise machines in order to reduce apartment noise and minimise the negative effects from sleep loss, but there is a more effective method — home renovation.

Improved insulation can block traffic noise and absorb sound more effectively, giving you greater protection from the noise of urban life as you sleep. Stone wool, in particular, is a highly efficient sound absorber. If you were to live close to an airport, the noise you hear inside your house would be reduced by 40 percent if your roof was insulated with stone wool.

Extra nightly slumber of up to

can be credited to exposure to natural light during the day according to research.

Installing more windows and light reflecting ceiling panels in a home or office would also be beneficial in nurturing good sleep, as research suggests that exposure to natural light during the day can result in an extra 46 minutes of slumber at night (World Green Building Council, 2016).

There is no doubt that sleep can be immensely critical to our life and wellbeing. After all, we spend about one third of our lives sleeping. With more optimised living spaces, we can better establish a good night’s sleep.



1. Tasali et al, 2007
2. Niemann and Maschke, 2004
3. World Green Building Council, 2016

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