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Noise Health. 2016 Sep-Oct;18(84):240-246. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.192480.

The effect of room acoustics on the sleep quality of healthy sleepers.

Author information

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, CCM-CC11, Centre for Sleep Medicine, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Universitätsklinik Magdeburg, Magdeburg; ENT-Center Traunstein, Traunstein, Germany.



Noise is one of the factors that can seriously disturb sleep, and sound volume is an important factor in this context. One strategy involves avoiding exposure to sounds in the night, while entail the minimization of background noise in a bedroom. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of systematic sound attenuation on nocturnal sleep by influencing sound volume and reverberation within the context of room acoustics.


On this basis, we designed a randomized, controlled crossover trial investigating 24 healthy sleepers (15 men and 9 women, aged 24.9 ± 4.1 years) with a body mass index (BMI) of 21.9 ± 1.6 kg/m2. Each participant slept for three consecutive nights at three different locations: (a) at our sleep lab, (b) at the participant's home, and (c) at an acoustically isolated room. In addition to conduct of polysomnography (PSG), subjective sleep quality and nocturnal noise level were measured at each location. We likewise measured room temperature and relative humidity.


Under conditions of equal sleep efficiency, a significant increase in deep sleep, by 16-34 min, was determined in an acoustically isolated room in comparison to the two other sleep locations. Fewer arousal events and an increase in rapid eye movement (REM) latency became evident in an acoustically isolated environment. Sleep in a domestic environment was subjectively better than sleep under the two test conditions.


For healthy sleepers, room acoustics influence the microstructure of sleep, without subjective morning benefit. Reduction of noise level and of reverberation leads to an increase in the amount of deep sleep and to reduction of nocturnal arousal events, which is especially important for poor sleepers.

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