Noise is another common disturber of sleep, along with light, and is something that most of us will experience to some degree on a regular basis. Noise pollution comes in many forms, but is unusual in that sometimes the most innocuous of incidents can often have the most impact on sleep quality.
Noisy neighbours are a regularly reported problem when it comes to noise pollution. In most cases it is often solved by simply raising the issue with the neighbour in question, as they might not even be aware that they’re causing a disturbance. However, when this isn’t possible - and especially if the noisy incidents are regular - it is worth contacting your Local Authority as they will have procedures in place to deal with the issue.
Proximity to busy roads and railway lines is another regular noise pollution issue. These noises can be somewhat reduced with double or triple glazed windows, or where possible landscaping your garden to shield and absorb the worst of the noise.
In attempting to combat noises from outside you can only ever limit how they reach you, rather than tackling them at the source. In the house and bedroom itself though, you’re in more control of your environment. Surprisingly, noises in the bedroom are often the most distracting and disturbing.
Electrical items on stand-by are a common culprit here, as most emit some level of buzzing when plugged in. While these sounds are almost completely imperceptible amongst the typical noise of the day, at night they can become unexpected loud in an otherwise quiet environment. Simply unplug any electrical item that’s not in use during the night.
In cases where you simply can’t eradicate the noise that’s keeping you awake at night, wherever it’s coming from, there are a couple of effective solutions.
White noise generators, sometimes called ‘sound conditioners’, are devices that produce a generic sound that effectively ‘masks’ the offending noise. The sounds they create, which are typically variable, are designed to become part of the environment and audibly unobtrusive.
When all else fails, ear plugs provide an effective barrier to all but the most severe forms of noise pollution, so should be kept as an ‘emergency’ solution if your sleep is regularly disturbed by noise.