Sleep quality and traffic noise #betterlife

We’ve been working closely with our sleep scientist Dr. Robin Thorpe to delve into the affects of traffic noise on sleep quality and overall rest duration. 

Take a look at the findings below, to see whether external noise during rest hours can impact our overall health…

It’s safe to say that traffic noise is a major problem throughout European cities, with studies now showing that traffic disturbance levels usually exceed the health threshold set by the EU.

Now, a new study by the University of Oxford and the University of Leicester, has been able to explore the impact of broken sleep on people living within cities with large amounts of road traffic noise.

Findings are now showing that there is an increased risk of obesity amongst people who live close to busy roads within urban areas, as these are the demographic more likely to experience broken sleep.

According to Dr. Samuel Yutong Cai, a senior epidemiologist at the University of Oxford;

‘while modest, the data revealed an association between those living in high traffic-noise areas and obesity, at around a 2% increase in obesity prevalence for every 10dB of added noise’.

The study then went on to show that despite several lifestyle steps taken to improve overall health and well being, such as a balanced diet and quitting smoking, the difference in body mass index was still prevalent.

According to Dr. Robin Thorpe:

‘this recent investigation which found associations with traffic noise and obesity, provides a narrative that sleep habits, health and behaviour could possibly be linked to overall general health. More research is certainly required to investigate these relationships further but if you are living close to external environmental noise then understanding and optimising current sleep habits and behaviour should be a key factor to consider and implement.’

So, why is the link between noise and health so striking? It all comes down to broken sleep.

When we’re sleep deprived, we’re much more likely to reach for fast food and sugar, according to the National Health Service (NHS).

People who are sleep deprived have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone).

This imbalance can have a negative affect on energy levels and can cause us to eat more throughout the day in a bid to right the wrong.

Alongside these tendencies, a poor night’s sleep can also affect our cognitive judgement and can mean that we are more likely to reach for the sugary snacks with less thought on the consequences.

How’s your sleep been recently? Do you live in an area with a large amount of street noise? Let us know your tips for getting a great night sleep below…

How’s your sleep been lately? Discover our other COVID_19 related articles to help you through this difficult time.

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