Research Shows Wind Farm Noise May not Be More Disruptive to Sleep than Other Sources

New findings suggest that wind farm noise is no more disruptive than other sounds! Read on to learn more!
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Last updatedLast updated: November 07, 2021
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The daunting environmental crisis currently being faced by all of us has spawned a lot of ingenious solutions to some of the world’s biggest carbon footprint problems. A key advancement has been replacing traditional fuel sources, like gasoline and coal, with more eco-friendly alternatives. These new and more sustainable alternatives have far-reaching benefits that we’re only just beginning to discover, but they also come with their own unique set of considerations.

As with any new technology, implementing infrastructures for solar and wind energy requires a detailed analysis of the environmental and social impacts of making such a drastic move. Natural environmental considerations that are covered during these types of analyses include the long-term effects on the ozone layer, the water supply, and other such concerns.

Social impact

On the other hand, social impacts also need to be examined. These are done to protect both the physical health of nearby humans as well as the quality of life they experience. If no extreme concerns are found during the studies, the infrastructure can be installed more widely.

One specific concern that needs to be addressed when a wind farm is being installed is whether or not it will have any impact on the sleep of nearby humans. Given that adequate sleep is such a crucial part of human health and wellness Trusted Source Strategies to promote better sleep in these uncertain times - Harvard Health In these challenging times it’s normal to experience sleep problems. Because proper sleep is so important to well-being, here are some tips for improving sleep — actions you can take both during the day and at night. www.health.harvard.edu , the effect of wind farms on sleep needs to be closely examined.

Indeed, any number of factors— both social and environmental— can disrupt high-quality sleep. All humans are different, and some are more sensitive to factors like noise, light, or temperature than others. Reducing the amount of distracting noise Trusted Source Setting the stage for sounder sleep - Harvard Health To minimize wakefulness, follow bedtime rituals and schedules, make the bedroom quiet and comfortable, and avoid bright light, especially blue light from electronic devices. www.health.harvard.edu has been shown to improve sleep quality, and there was a natural concern that wind farms may be disruptive to sleep. Wind farms, if you were unaware, produce their own very unique sound, and this caused some to speculate that their sound would disrupt sleep for those who lived nearby.

At first, listen. The sound of a wind farm isn’t altogether disruptive. It sounds similar to gentle static you might hear from television but at a very low volume. Another appropriate comparison would be to the “white noise” setting on a sleep sound machine. It wouldn’t be difficult to see how a very sensitive sleeper may have an adverse response to it, but on the whole, it does not seem very disruptive.

A study

Researchers were keen to discover whether or not this sound did or did not have an impact on local sleepers, so they conducted a study— in the form of a survey— to get to the bottom of the issue. In total, 500 residents in South Australia were questioned, all of whom were located within 10km of a wind farm or, for control purposes, within 800m of a major road or in quiet rural areas.

The survey results indicated that there was no significant difference between the number of respondents who lived near the wind farm and also reported high levels of sleep difficulties than respondents who lived near a road or in a quiet area. In fact, only a very small percentage— less than 1%— of those surveyed who live near a wind farm cited the wind farm as the reason for their poor sleep.

A similar study, conducted in a laboratory at Flinders University this time also found that wind farm noise had a minimal impact on sleep quality. This study subjected 68 participants to several nights of continuous wind farm noise while their sleep quality was measured, and the results found that wind farm noise was not a significant factor for poor sleep.

References

1.
Strategies to promote better sleep in these uncertain times - Harvard Health
In these challenging times it’s normal to experience sleep problems. Because proper sleep is so important to well-being, here are some tips for improving sleep — actions you can take both during the day and at night.
2.
Setting the stage for sounder sleep - Harvard Health
To minimize wakefulness, follow bedtime rituals and schedules, make the bedroom quiet and comfortable, and avoid bright light, especially blue light from electronic devices.
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