Can ICUs create more sleep by creating less noise?
In 1974 and 1999, respectively, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) published landmark guidelines for public noise [ 1], mandating that daytime and nighttime hospital noise, defined as “unwanted sound”, average less than 35–45 and 30–35 decibels (dB, i.e., a typical library), respectively, and nighttime peaks not exceed 40–45 dB (i.e., a normal conversation and threshold to maintain sleep). More recently the European community published an updated directive as well [ 2]. Compliance with these guidelines is poor, particularly in ICUs as alarming machines, staff conversations, bedside visitors, and routine activities such as supply restocking and floor waxing routinely push noise levels above 80 dB (i.e., a garbage disposal) [ 1]. Sound intensity in ICUs has increased over time, doubling (4 dB on logarithmic scale)...
“True silence is the rest of the mind,
and is to the spirit
what sleep is to the body,
nourishment and refreshment.”
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
All authors report no conflicts of interest.
- 2.Commission E (2002) Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise. Off J Eur Communities 189:12–25Google Scholar
- 6.Daiber A, Kröller-Schön S, Frenis K, Oelze M, Kalinovic S, Vujacic-Mirski K et al (2019) Environmental noise induces the release of stress hormones and inflammatory signaling molecules leading to oxidative stress and vascular dysfunction—Signatures of the internal exposome. BioFactors 45(4):495–506PubMedGoogle Scholar
- 10.Pandharipande PP, Ely EW, Arora RC, Balas MC, Boustani MA, La Calle GH, et al. (2017) The intensive care delirium research agenda: a multinational, interprofessional perspective. Intensive Care MedGoogle Scholar
© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019