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THE RESULTS OF THE 3RD ACOUSTIC HEALTH CAMPAIGN

THE RESULTS OF THE 3RD ACOUSTIC HEALTH CAMPAIGN

Acoustic health
  • In this third campaign, Pikolin set up a Sleep Unit right on Madrid's busy Paseo de la Castellana, in order to evaluate the influence of noise on rest and health.
  • The recognised expert in the field, Dr. Eduard Estivill, together with his medical team, were selected to run this study which monitored the sleep of a person between the 25th and 31st of January. 
  • The results of the study show that the environmental noise to which the volunteer was subjected caused changes in his quality of sleep. 

Madrid, 1st of February 2011.- Pikolin, the leading sleep products company, is sponsoring the 3rd Acoustic Health Campaign which aims to increase awareness of the importance of silence for a good night's sleep. The 3rd Acoustic Health Campaign is holding a number of activities over a two month period. Its initial act has been to establish, for the first time in history, a Sleep Unit in the street, where a week-long clinical study has been conducted. This study has been conducted by Dr. Eduard Estivill and his medical team. Dr. Estivill is an internationally recognised expert on sleep and health, and is currently the Director of the Sleep Clinic at USP Institut Universitari Dexeus in Barcelona. He is the author of such well-known books as The Estivill Method.
The 3rd Acoustic Health Campaign has established a Sleep Unit on the street, in which an anonymous person has slept every night for a week. Dr. Eduard Estivill, together with his medical team, has conducted a clinical study to analyse the damaging effect of environmental noise on a subject's sleep.

The study aimed to observe how the subject reacted when trying to sleep through noise, and how the stages of sleep changed when they were interrupted. The team monitored the subject's sleep and body movements, in order to observe the physical problems which arose and how the human body reacts to noise.

Scientific Objective:

To observe the influence of environmental noise on a healthy person's sleep, by making Polysomnograms at night in a cubicle located on a public street which simulated the acoustic conditions in an apartment in a large city (Madrid)

Working Hypothesis:

It's well-known that environmental noise causes micro-awakenings/arousals in our brains. These micro-events are of two sorts: Awakenings, in which the subject wakes up for a few seconds; and Arousals, in which the subject does not wake up but goes from deep to more superficial sleep.
It is the presence of these Arousals which, over time, produce the feeling of having slept badly.
The study aimed at demonstrating that these Arousals steadily increase the more nights the volunteer sleeps under unsuitable acoustic conditions.

Note:

At no time has any attempt been made to amplify the external noise, since this could have masked the scientific results. Rather, credible environmental conditions were sought, like those which a person might encounter in his home. The level of noise around the subject's cubicle was therefore checked to ensure that it was similar to that suffered by the rest of the people in the area.

Method of Study:

6 night-time sleep studies (Polysomnograms) were conducted, with tests after each night, in order to check on the resulting neuro-cognitive variables (anxiety, depression, loss of concentration, etc.)
On the first night, a sleep study was conducted in the volunteer's home.
Five more studies were then carried out with the volunteer in the cubicle on a public street under the acoustic conditions of the chosen location (under conditions as close as possible to those of an apartment in a large city).
The amounts of superficial, deep and REM sleep were studied and compared over the six nights. The number of Awakenings, the number of Arousals and the number of changes in sleep phase were all measured. This last parameter is important since, together with Arousals, it is responsible for the feeling of having slept badly

Results:

1st Night:

Amounts of the different phases of sleep: within normal limits for the subject's age.
Number of micro-awakenings: 18. Within normal limits for the first night of a sleep study.
Number of Arousals: 4 (these are micro-awakenings which the subject does not remember but which cause a change from a deep sleep phase to a superficial one). Duration: 13
Number of sleep phase changes: 60

2nd Night:

Amounts of the different phases of sleep: within normal limits for the subject's age (small increase in superficial sleep which was not significant).
Number of micro-awakenings: 18. Within normal limits for the first night of a sleep study in the cubicle.
Number of Arousals: 19 (significant increase) (these are micro-awakenings which the subject does not remember but which cause a change from a deep sleep phase to a superficial one). Duration: 14
Number of sleep phase changes: 65

3rd Night:

Amounts of the different phases of sleep: within normal limits for the subject's age (small increase in superficial sleep which was not significant).
Number of micro-awakenings: Within normal limits for the first night of a sleep study in the cubicle. 16
Number of Arousals: 30 (significant increase) (these are micro-awakenings which the subject does not remember but which cause a change from a deep sleep phase to a superficial one). Duration: 15.24
Number of sleep phase changes: 62

4th Night:

Amounts of the different phases of sleep: within normal limits for the subject's age (small increase in superficial sleep which was not significant).
Number of micro-awakenings: Within normal limits for the first night of a sleep study in the cubicle.
Number of Arousals: 24 (these are micro-awakenings which the subject does not remember but which cause a change from a deep sleep phase to a superficial one). Duration: 22.67
Number of sleep phase changes: 71

5th Night:

Amounts of the different phases of sleep: within normal limits for the subject's age (small increase in superficial sleep which was not significant).
Number of micro-awakenings: 23
Number of Arousals: (these are micro-awakenings which the subject does not remember but which cause a change from a deep sleep phase to a superficial one). 37 Duration: 30
Number of sleep phase changes: 76

* For more detailed information, see the reports, which include a histogram of all the nights.

Neuro-cognitive repercussions (anxiety, depression, irritability, lack of concentration, memory).

This data is subjective, since it was collected by tests of how the volunteer felt. 

Results: A slight increase in signs of depression was observed, which was not, at that point, significant. We suspect that, if these negative environmental conditions were to persist or increase, the consequences would be more evident.

Conclusions

It was demonstrated that the environmental noise to which the healthy volunteer was subjected caused two significant changes.

  • A progressive increase in the number of Arousals and their duration. 
  • A progressive increase in the fragmentation of sleep. 

These changes provide scientific support for our knowledge that the environmental noise to which we are subjected in a large city produces progressive and significant changes in sleep patterns, which over time may have repercussions during the day (increased levels of anxiety, depression, loss of concentration, irritability and loss of memory function).

Recommendations:

At a personal level: it's important to use foam rubber ear plugs which block out most of the noise but allow you to hear the alarm clock or a baby crying. You should also have maximum acoustic protection for your bedroom.

At a general level: Make the authorities aware that environmental noise causes changes in sleep patterns which not only have a negative effect on people's health, but also result in a definite increase in health costs. It is known that people with sleep problems consume more health care resources, more medicines and take more sick days.

More information about this initiative can be found on the specially created website - www.pikolinsaludacustica.es - on which videos of the sleeper can be seen, and information can be obtained about sleep, noise and health. Additionally, if you leave a suggestion about noise reduction on the site, you will have a chance to win a NormActive mattress with visco-elastic. This project also has a presence on social networks. On Facebook, a group has been created called, “Por un descanso sin ruido,” (for silence while you sleep), which already has over 1,300 members.

Acoustic health, a universal problem.

Urban noise (also called environmental noise, residential noise and domestic noise) is defined as the noise made by all sources except those in industrial areas. The main sources of urban noise are: car, rail and air traffic; construction and public works; and the neighbourhood.

Principal effects of noise on sleep*:

  • Increased brain activity, body movements and autonomous responses.
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Increased respiratory rate 
  • Increased blood pressure 

* All these effects occur even with very low noise levels.

In the last thirty years, many studies have been conducted with the aim of evaluating the effect of noise on sleep and on health in general. Noise has significant repercussions on both sleep architecture and its micro-structure. It also has a negative effect on the autonomous functions and, in the longer term, on health and quality of life. The primary effects - the responses which occur at the same time as the noise, or immediately after it - are increases in brain activity, body movements and autonomous responses. The effects involve many awakenings and changes to more superficial sleep phases, and also a subjective perception of having slept badly. In general, it can be said that the capacity to attain the deeper sleep phases is one which is most affected by exposure to noise. Noise also has other immediate effects, such as increases in heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure and vasoconstriction. This type of response may even be caused by very low noise levels (Muzet, 1992).

Increasing "Acoustic Health" awareness since 2009.

Pikolin created this initiative in 2009. One of the most outstanding measures carried out in the first campaign involved sound-proofing a building in the Plaza de San Ildefonso (Malasaña) - one of Madrid's noisiest areas.
To measure the success of the experiment, the sound pollution was measured before and after the sound-proofing. There was an immediate and significant reduction in the sound level.
The quality of sleep was improved, and the success of the experiment resulted in the media publishing these findings and thus contributing to increasing awareness of the noise problem. Those living in the building became real experts in acoustic health, and gave simple advice on how to reduce the annoyances which surround us.

In the second campaign, Pikolin decided to film the real-life experiences of people living in Barcelona and Seville who had noisy neighbours. These people were the central figures in the two documentaries which Pikolin made to bring home the message that everyone has the right to quiet when they are resting or sleeping.
Additionally, Pikolin launched the website www.pikolinsaludacustica.es, an initiative which included "The Mediator", an expert in this type of problem and in mediating conflicts. He was made available to help some of the people who reported sleep problems caused by noisy neighbours. In 2009, more than 7,000 people posted the reasons why they couldn't get to sleep on the Pikolin website.

The commonest situations were about noise caused by: music, television and conversation at a high volume; white goods such as washing machines and dish washers being operated at night; neighbours slamming doors as they entered or left their home and talking loudly on staircases; and chats or discussion in the early hours with the windows open.

About the Pikolin Group

The Pikolin Group is leading group in the sleep products sector in Spain (28% market share), France (30%) and Portugal (20%). It has seven production plants and is made up of six commercial brands: Pikolin, Bultex, Swissflex, Lattoflex, Serta and Dunlopillo. Its major investment in R&D&i and access to leading international technologies have given it a competitive edge both for now and in the future.

About Dr. Eduard Estivill

Dr. Eduard Estivill holds degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Barcelona. He has participated in many studies, and since 1989 has been the Director of the Dr. Estivill Sleep Clinic at USP Institut Universitari Dexeus in Barcelona. He is also the author of such well-known books as The Estivill Method and Go To Sleep, Little One.

To follow the campaign on line:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000686441916
http://twitter.com/#!/saludacustica
http://www.pikolinsaludacustica.es/videoblog/

For more information:
EQUIPO SINGULAR
María García
91 787 46 00
Maria.garcia@equiposingular.es

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