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These environmental factors can interfere with sleep, researchers say


Photo: Viacheslav Peretiatko/iStockphoto

Air pollution, elevated temperature, and high levels of carbon dioxide and ambient noise may get in the way of a good night’s sleep, results of a recent study suggest.

Researchers tracked 62 participants’ sleep efficiency – time spent sleeping relative to time available for sleep – for two weeks. They continually measured seven different environmental factors in the room where the participants slept: air pollution, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, barometric pressure and noise levels.

Compared with low noise levels, high noise levels were associated with a 4.7% decrease in sleep efficiency. Participants’ sleep efficiency also decreased 4% when carbon dioxide levels were high, 3.2% when the room temperature was elevated and 3.2% when air pollution levels were high.

The researchers point out that although work and family obligation can compete for sleep time, growing urbanization and climate change can impact sleep efficiency as well, which in turn affects quality of life.


Reducing exposures to sleep-disrupting factors can be included in interventions that improve sleep efficiency, the researchers say.

“This could be as simple as leaving a bedroom door open to lower carbon dioxide levels and using triple-pane windows to reduce noise,” Aruni Bhatnagar, director of the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute of the University of Louisville, said in a press release.

The study was published online in the journal Sleep Health.

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