Noise pollution is all that extra noise that your ears and brain has to process throughout the day and night. It does not have to be loud to be considered noise pollution. How often have you been driven crazy to a buzzing overhead light or someone tapping their pen? Our brain is constantly taking in information and noise is part of that equation. If too many noises are coming in without a rest then it just accumulates until your senses are overloaded.
Noise while you sleep is interesting. When you are asleep, noise is your body’s first warning system to danger. How many times have you been woken by a sudden noise? Or take for example smoke detectors. They function by emitting a loud noise to alert you. They don’t release a smell or touch you. They target your hearing.
Side effects of noise pollution
When you are asleep the brain is processing surrounding noise. This can impact your sleep by preventing you from dropping down into a deep sleep stage or interrupting it. Deep sleep is your restorative stage. If you just start to drift into deep sleep and then a car alarm pops you back into a light sleep stage, chances are you are going to be tired feeling in the morning. You also could have some major brain fog going on since during deep sleep your brain flushes its glymphatic system to clear waste proteins.
Another side effect of not getting enough deep sleep is your hunger hormones will be elevated causing you to want to snack more, usually towards junky high calorie food.
When you are interrupted during your REM stage, which is when dreams occur and memory consolidation happens, you may experience poor memory recall of the previous day. You may not be as creative the next day at work either because the right and left side of the brain were not able to sync up overnight.
Living somewhere with noise pollution calls for some intervention. Here are what I recommend to my clients.
1. Invest in high quality ear plugs. A pair that will custom fit your ear canal will be more comfortable than a generic pair. The ones offered from Earpeace are top notch.
2. Install sound dampening material in your room like heavy drapes or if it is really bad acoustic panels. I know acoustic panels would not match your decor. Thankfully, you can make it into art. Check out these acoustic panels from Acoustimac.
3. Use a white noise machine or a fan to create a constant noise to block out sound.
If you would like to read about more tips on improving your sleep check out Build Better Sleep’s Blueprint.