A field study of effects of road traffic and railway noise on polysomnographic sleep parameters.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

PubMedID: 21682396

Aasvang GM, Øverland B, Ursin R, Moum T. A field study of effects of road traffic and railway noise on polysomnographic sleep parameters. J Acoust Soc Am. 2011;129(6):3716-26.
The aim of this study was to explore and compare the effect of noise from railway and road traffic on sleep in subjects habitually exposed to nocturnal noise. Forty young and middle aged healthy subjects were studied with polysomnography (PSG) during two consecutive nights in their own bedroom. Noise measurements and recordings were conducted concurrently outside of the bedroom fac¸ade as well as inside the bedroom of each participant. Different noise exposure parameters were calculated (L(p,A,eq,night), L(p,A,Fmax,night), and L(AF5,night)) and analyzed in relation to whole-night sleep parameters. The group exposed to railway noise had significantly less Rapid eye movement, (REM) sleep than the group exposed to road traffic noise. A significant association was found between the maximum level (L(p,A,Fmax,night)) of railway noise and time spent in REM sleep. REM sleep was significantly shorter in the group exposed to at least a single railway noise event above 50 dB inside the bedroom. These results, obtained in an ecological valid setting, support previous laboratory findings that railway noise has a stronger impact than road traffic noise on physiological parameters during sleep, and that the maximum noise level is an important predictor of noise effects on sleep assessed by PSG, at least for railway noise.