Could too much noise while you’re trying to sleep lead to infertility? A few recent studies suggest that it can. Environmental noise pollution may lower fertility in both men and women.
Effects of Noise on Men
A July 2017 study published in Environmental Pollution found “a significant association between exposure to environmental noise for four years and the subsequent incidence of male infertility, suggesting long-term exposure to noise has a role in pathogenesis of male infertility.”
Previous studies had shown that noise stress disrupts reproductive hormones. Researchers had also found that rats exposed to high noise levels had decreased sperm concentration and motility.
However, this study took the research a step further to follow actual men to see how their fertility changed over time. Researchers tracked men age 20-59, with no previous history of infertility, for four years. They used data on environmental noises from sources such as transportation, industrial, and recreational activities. Noise over 55 decibels, especially at night, was connected with a significant risk of infertility.
Effects of Noise on Women
In June 2017, Environment International published a Danish study of women affected specifically by traffic noise. These researchers followed a group of women for six years. They found that more noise translated to a longer period of trying to get pregnant. For each additional 10 decibels of nearby traffic noise, a woman faced a 5 to 8 percent increased risk of delayed pregnancy for six months or more.
However, note that this study was published before the male infertility study. The women’s difficulty getting pregnant could be a result of their partner’s health. Other studies, such as this one in Sleep Medicine Reviews, link sleep disturbances to decreased fertility in women. Many factors can disrupt sleep; naturally, excess noise is one of them.
Quality sleep is crucial. Read on for ways to reduce nighttime noise for your fertility and all aspects of your health.
How to Reduce Excess Noise at Night
Wearing earplugs can take a little getting used to. But with many varieties readily available, some are more comfortable than others. The good news is: they’re inexpensive, so try them out and see what works for you.
Move Your Bed
Just by rearranging your room you might be able to reduce noise while you sleep. Try moving your bed against an interior wall or even to a different bedroom in your house if that’s an option.
If you live in a condo or apartment, also consider noise from adjacent units. If you have noisy neighbors, avoid sleeping next to shared walls.
Insulate Your Space
Heavy curtains and rugs help to absorb sound. You might be surprised how much difference they can make. Also try acoustic tiles. Shop around for some that double as decor and look fashionable in your bedroom. Use them around your bed to absorb noise.
Invest in Good Quality Windows
Quality windows that are well fitted and sealed make a world of difference. If upgrading is not an option right now, or you rent, at least make sure to seal any cracks or gaps. You could save on energy bills in addition to improving your sleep.
Use a White Noise Machine
Buy a white noise machine or a white noise app for your phone or tablet. A fan can also work in a pinch. White noise works by masking other sounds, especially those that might jar you awake.
The National Sleep Foundation offers further information on the relationship between sound and sleep. If you are trying to conceive, cutting down on noise pollution should be on your to-do list.
Photo credit: Yastremska / BigStock.com