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A laboratory study on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep: Results of the polysomnographic WiTNES study.

Journal article
Authors Michael Smith
Mikael Ögren
Pontus Thorsson
Laith Hussain-Alkhateeb
Eja Pedersen
Jens Forssén
Julia Ageborg Morsing
Kerstin Persson Waye
Published in SLEEP
ISSN 1550-9109
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Language en
Keywords Wind turbine noise, polysomnography, cortisol awakening response, self-reported sleep, habituation
Subject categories Environmental medicine


STUDY OBJECTIVES: Assess the physiologic and self-reported effects of wind turbine noise (WTN) on sleep. METHODS: Laboratory sleep study (n=50 participants: n=24 living close to wind turbines, n=26 as a reference group) using polysomnography, electrocardiography, salivary cortisol and questionnaire endpoints. Three consecutive nights (23:00-07:00): one habituation followed by a randomized quiet Control and an intervention night with synthesized 32 dB LAEq WTN. Noise in WTN nights simulated closed and ajar windows and low and high amplitude modulation depth. RESULTS: There was a longer REM sleep latency (+16.8 min) and lower amount of REM sleep (-11.1 min, -2.2%) in WTN nights. Other measures of objective sleep did not differ significantly between nights, including key indicators of sleep disturbance (sleep efficiency: Control 86.6%, WTN 84.2%; wakefulness after sleep onset: Control 45.2 min, WTN 52.3 min; awakenings: Control n=11.4, WTN n=11.5) or the cortisol awakening response. Self-reported sleep was consistently rated as worse following WTN nights, and individuals living close to wind turbines had worse self-reported sleep in both the Control and WTN nights than the reference group. CONCLUSIONS: Amplitude modulated continuous WTN may impact on self-assessed and some aspects of physiologic sleep. Future studies are needed to generalize these findings outside of the laboratory, and should include more exposure nights and further examine possible habituation or sensitization.

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