The level of sound at bedtime in your room is such an important factor linked to sleep quality. Sleeping is already a challenge for some people, and nighttime noise can make this even harder. Here is my guide on how to sleep with noise.
How to sleep with noise in a noisy world
Sleep is essential because it is one of the main processes our body uses to help regulate the systems, contribute to healing and the prevention of diseases. May diseases can be prevented by getting enough sleep each night. Lack of sleep is a major contributor to a wide range of issues.
But what happens if we have the problem of a noisy sleep environment? What happens then? This is a much more common problem for people living in cities where there is rarely any peace and quiet.
Noise at night can lead to insomnia, which, in turn, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and assorted health issues.
Luckily there are many things that you can do to alleviate this noisy problem. In this article we will cover how noise affects your sleep, how to handle it better and some useful tips on how to sleep with noise in general.
How Noise Messes With Sleep
As mentioned earlier noise pollution is a big problem in our cities. Recent studies have shown that noise pollution can affect us in a lot of different ways.
This effect is multiplied at night, sounds that are trivial during the day become unbearable at night. Even if they do not wake you up, they can interrupt your sleep cycle.
When sleeping, your body goes through different levels of sleep. The deepest of these cycles is called REM sleep. Noise at nighttime can prevent you from reaching this deep restorative REM sleep. By staying in light sleep, you will wake to feel tired and groggy the next day.
Sources of noise at night
Environmental noise can come from various sources such as
- Road traffic
- Building works
- Dogs in the street
- Noisey neighbours
- Faulty fans or air conditioners
- Snoring Partners
The sound levels do not even have to be that loud to effect seep. It has been shown that sound levels as low as 30 decibels can affect sleep cycles. As an interesting comparison, road traffic is at 70 decibels and a jumbo jet is at 150 decibels while taking off.
Everybody is unique though, and the way sound effects each person is different. Some people are much more sensitive to seep noise.
So how do we sleep in noisy environments?
1. Train Yourself to sleep with noise.
One of the best methods for training your mind and body to sleep with noise is through behaviour adjustment and promoting good sleep habits.
- Try to forget its noisy: It’s not easy but it can be done and does wok a treat. If you focus on the noise and how infuriating and it will only make matters worse. Your nervous energy levels will skyrocket and you will never nod off. Alternatively, acknowledge the noise and believe that you have the power and will to overcome it. Eventually, your mind will turn off the noise.
- Focus on anything else: Its surprising what your mind is capable of. If you focus on something other than the noise that is troubling you, your mind will blank it out. There are various ways to do this. Try deep breathing exercises and breathe in and out nice and slow. Do counts of 3 full breaths in and out, then expand to counts of 6 slowly. alternatively try a visualisation technique and imagine yourself in a super relaxing location, free from all the sounds around you. I have also heard that meditation is a great way of clearing your mind of the sounds that are upsetting you at nighttime.
- Trick your ears: This is my personal favourite and a technique that I employ every single night when I get into bed. Create a relaxing music playlist or put on a soothing voiced podcast and go to sleep with headphones on. It really does work wonders. I personally can’t sleep without it now. If you shudder at the idea of wearing headphones to bed, try soft earplugs instead. In addition, you could try a white noise machine to help defend your room from all that racket.
- Get plenty of exercise: Sleep is dramatically helped by increased levels of exercise. It is shown that regular exercise helps the body rest at night and gives renewed energy in the morning. It is also known to increase melatonin production which il help you sleep like a baby.
- Set up a bedtime routine: Taking a hot bath before bed, with essential oils is great for relaxation. Also, turn off all your electronics at least an hour before bed and try not to have too much screen time in your room. It will prepare your mind to sleep before you even lie down.
2. Extreme ideas.
Sometimes, simply changing your behaviour isn’t enough. If the noise affecting your sleep is just too loud, you may have to start adapting your home and bedroom to make it quieter.
- Change your furniture around: The way noise works is that it reflects and bounces of o surfaces and this can increase the volume of the sound in specific spots in our room. An example of this in action is when sound studios are padded to dampen this effect. Try moving your bed further away from the source of the noise and see if that helps.
- Block the noise somehow: Try putting soundproofing around the entry point for the noise, most probably door or window. Pillows, sheets or towels would help. Even hang something on the offending wall. The soft material will dampen the noise slightly. If you want to invest big in this, you can always buy some specialised soundproof material such as wall panels or acoustic blankets. Finally, trees, bushes and other plants outside your window will help in deflecting the noise also.
- Modern, glazed windows: Modern window glazing technology is excellent and as well as keeping the heat in and the cold out it will significantly reduce any noise pollution entering your bedroom.
3. Talk about it.
Often, the best way to sort a problem is to work together on it. If you feel safe to do so, try talking to the neighbour who is affecting your sleep with their noise. Be honest and straightforward and explain your situation. Chances are they will empathise with your pain and quieten down.
If the noise problem comes from a partner snoring there is a conversation to be had about possible remedies, or even surgery!
4. Make your bed comfortable.
Making your sleep environment the most comfortable it can be is one of the most important things you can do to aid sleep, even in noisy environments. Change the temperature to something that suits you. Use calming colours for the walls decorations. Same idea for your bed. Make sure the mattress is of high quality and your pillow is the right size and thickness. Use a sleep mask if necessary. They help me that’s for sure.
Advice for travellers
Sleep while travelling often presents its own set of challenges when it comes to how to sleep with noise. It is vital that you plan ahead to reduce any issue you might face
- Ask for a bed away from noisy areas: In a hostel, this will be the roo as far away from the common areas as possible. It may even be best to book a private room so you don’t have to deal with noisy roommates.
- Read reviews carefully: Make sure the place you are going to stay is not known for its noisy nights and doesn’t have many complaints.
- Always bring earplugs: Throw away ones are best for travel.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I reduce the noise from street traffic?
Traffic noise is one of the most common causes of sleep loss. One of the best solutions to this problem, because it is so constant, is to use a white noise generator. This will almost totally block out the troublesome car and motorbike noises. If this fails, try listening to podcasts.
Is this advice good for light and sensitive sleepers?
Definitely! This advice can be used by any type of sleeper. But be aware that what may work for one person will not always work for another. Trial and error is the name of the game and you need to find what works best for you and your noise issues.
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My name is Matt and I am mad about sleep. I created ‘The Rest Investor’ from a belief that Britons just aren’t getting enough sleep. It’s becoming a national crisis.