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Cortisol response and subjective sleep disturbance after low-frequency noise exposure

Journal article
Authors Kerstin Persson Waye
Agneta Agge
A. Clow
F. Hucklebridge
Published in Journal of Sound and Vibration
Volume 277
Issue 3
Pages 453-457
Publication year 2004
Published at Institute of Community Medicine
Pages 453-457
Language en
Keywords low frequency noise, sleep, cortisol, disturbance, exposure, mood, tiredness
Subject categories Environmental medicine


A previous experimental study showed that the cortisol response upon awakening was reduced following nights with low-frequency noise exposure. This study comprised a larger number of subjects and an extended period of acclimatisation nights. In total, 26 male subjects slept during five consecutive nights in a sleep laboratory. Half of the subjects were exposed to low-frequency noise (40 dBA) on the 4th night and had their reference night (24 dBA) on the 5th night, while the reverse conditions were present for the other half of the group. Subjective sleep disturbances were recorded by questionnaires and cortisol response upon awakening was measured in saliva. The results showed that subjects were more tired and felt less socially orientated in the morning after nights with low-frequency noise. Mood was negatively affected in the evening after nights with low-frequency noise. No effect of noise condition was found on the cortisol secretion. There was a significant effect of group and weekday, indicating that further methodological developments are necessary before saliva cortisol secretion can be reliably used as an indicator of noise-disturbed sleep.

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