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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 61  |  Page : 321--329

Critical appraisal of methods for the assessment of noise effects on sleep


1 Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
2 ETH Zurich, D-MTEC Public and Organizational Health, WEP H17, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
3 Department of Flight Physiology, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, 51170 Cologne, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Mathias Basner
Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, 1013 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA,19104-6021
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.104902

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Various sleep measurement techniques have been applied in past studies on the effects of environmental noise on sleep, complicating comparisons between studies and the derivation of pooled exposure-response relationships that could inform policy and legislation. To date, a consensus on a standard measurement technique for the assessment of environmental noise effects on sleep is missing. This would be desirable to increase comparability of future studies. This manuscript provides a detailed description of the sleep process, typical indicators of disturbed sleep, and how noise interferes with sleep. It also describes and discusses merits and drawbacks of five established methods commonly used for the assessment of noise effects on sleep (i.e., polysomnography, actigraphy, electrocardiography, behaviorally confirmed awakenings, and questionnaires). Arguments supporting the joint use of actigraphy and a single channel electrocardiogram as meaningful, robust, and inexpensive methods that would allow for the investigation of large representative subject samples are presented. These could be used as a starting point for the generation of an expert consensus.






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