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Hospital Noises Disrupt Sleep

June 11, 2012



Hospital cacophony: Orfeu Buxton, PhD (blue tie) and Jo Solet, PhD found that noises in a common hospital setting can negatively affect sleep and cardiovascular function.
Hospital cacophony: Orfeu Buxton, PhD (blue tie) and Jo Solet, PhD found that noises in a common hospital setting can negatively affect sleep and cardiovascular function.
A new study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance finds that hospital noises can disrupt sleep, which can negatively affect brain activity and cardiovascular function in patients.

In the study, to be published in Annals of Internal Medicine on June 12, 2012, researchers subjected 12 healthy volunteers to a variety of recorded sounds as they slept. They found that of all the types of sounds they used, electronic sounds common to hospital environments were the most likely to arouse subjects from sleep, even at a very low volume. The researchers also found that the disruption from these noises lead to temporary elevations in heart rate, which could be bad for more vulnerable patients staying in hospitals.

Co-lead authors, Orfeu Buxton, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Jeffrey Ellenbogen, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital,  and senior study author Jo Solet, PhD, Cambridge Health Alliance, note that these findings are important for improving the health of hospitalized patients by highlighting the need to protect patients' sleep through acoustic guidelines in hospital design, construction, care routines, and equipment.

Related Links
Read the Press Release from Brigham and Women's Hospital
Reuters: "Low-level hospital noise may disrupt sleep: study"



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