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Associations of Various Nighttime Noise Exposure Indicators with Objective Sleep Efficiency and Self-Reported Sleep Quality: A Field Study

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Röösli Martin, Brink Mark, Rudzik Franziska, Cajochen Christian, Ragettli Martina S., Flückiger Benjamin, Pieren Reto, Vienneau Danielle, Wunderli Jean-Marc,
Project Novel methods for investigating acute and long term effects of transportation noise on health
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume (Issue) 16(20)
Page(s) 3790 - 3790
Title of proceedings International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
DOI 10.3390/ijerph16203790

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


It is unclear which noise exposure time window and noise characteristics during nighttime are most detrimental for sleep quality in real-life settings. We conducted a field study with 105 volunteers wearing a wrist actimeter to record their sleep during seven days, together with concurrent outdoor noise measurements at their bedroom window. Actimetry-recorded sleep latency increased by 5.6 min (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.6 to 9.6 min) per 10 dB(A) increase in noise exposure during the first hour after bedtime. Actimetry-assessed sleep efficiency was significantly reduced by 2%–3% per 10 dB(A) increase in measured outdoor noise (Leq, 1h) for the last three hours of sleep. For self-reported sleepiness, noise exposure during the last hour prior to wake-up was most crucial, with an increase in the sleepiness score of 0.31 units (95% CI: 0.08 to 0.54) per 10 dB(A) Leq,1h. Associations for estimated indoor noise were not more pronounced than for outdoor noise. Taking noise events into consideration in addition to equivalent sound pressure levels (Leq) only marginally improved the statistical models. Our study provides evidence that matching the nighttime noise exposure time window to the individual’s diurnal sleep–wake pattern results in a better estimate of detrimental nighttime noise effects on sleep. We found that noise exposure at the beginning and the end of the sleep is most crucial for sleep quality.