Development of a new night-time noise index: Integration of neurophysiological theory and epidemiological findings

Author: Junta Tagusari1, Masato Takakusaki2, Toshihito Matsui1
1 Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan.
2 Graduate School of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan.
Conference/Journal: Noise Health
Date published: Jan-Mar 2020
Other: Volume ID: 22 , Issue ID: 104 , Pages: 1-9 , Special Notes: doi: 10.4103/nah.NAH_27_20. , Word Count: 244

The effects of environmental noise on sleep are of great interest to public health. Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate these effects; however, these previous studies applied existing sound-level statistics that were not based on neurophysiology.

This study aimed to develop a new night-time noise index based on neurophysiology and epidemiology.

First, we derived a formula for predicting the noise effects on sleep based on a neurophysiological model of brainstem sleep regulation, where awakening was associated with greater electrical potentials in the brainstem. Second, we investigated the noise effects on sleep using the results of an epidemiological study conducted in the vicinity of the Kadena military airfield in Okinawa, Japan. Thirty volunteers participated in the study. Vibrations of whole-body movements were recorded using sheet-shaped sleep monitors for 26 consecutive nights. The onset of motility, which was defined by monitor vibrations, was used to index awakening reactions.

Our statistical model could properly predict the fluctuating risk of motility onset. The new index, which is the mean of the sound level above 60 dB, can be successfully used, irrespective of the duration of noise exposure. Additionally, it out-performed existing event-related noise indices.

We derived a new night-time noise index for evaluating the noise effects on sleep. To our knowledge, this is the first study to explain the noise effects on sleep with the consideration of neurophysiology and epidemiology.

Keywords: Noise-induced sleep disturbance; epidemiology; motility; neurophysiology; sleep science; insomnia

PMID: 33243962 DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_27_20