Many who need restorative rest most might not be able to get it. Why? They’re in a hospital. Even at night, a hospital can be a noisy place. And research has shown that these noise levels have been rising for decades.
A new study finds that electronic noises in particular interfere with sleep.
Researchers followed the sleep patterns of a dozen healthy volunteers as they spent three nights sleeping in a lab. Their hours of darkness were punctuated with 14 different recorded hospital sounds played at varying volumes. Even when electronic sounds, such as alarm beeps, were played at the level of a whisper, volunteers slightly roused from sleep. The findings are in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. [Orfeu Buxton et al., "Sleep Disruption Due to Hospital Noises: A Prospective Evaluation"]
When the volunteers' sleep was disrupted, their heart rate increased. This frequently elevated heart rate could be especially bad for recovery. A little peace and quiet could make for a lot more restful nights.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]