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Determining physiological reaction probabilities to noise events during sleep

  • M. BrinkEmail author
  • M. Basner
  • C. Schierz
  • M. Spreng
  • K. Scheuch
  • G. Bauer
  • W.A. Stahel
Original Contribution

Abstract

Some of the activations that occur during sleep, e.g. awakening reactions, can be considered adverse effects of noise events (e.g., airplane overflights or train passings) during the night. The occurrence of such reactions is an important indicator of the sleep disturbing potential of the particular noise stimulus and it is often desired to exactly quantify that potential in terms of a probability. Awakenings are considered the strongest form of reaction to noise stimuli during sleep and are one of the most often adopted criteria in night time noise protection concepts. However, the correct determination of noise induced awakening probability has given rise to debate in the scientific community in recent years. Because during every night’s sleep, spontaneous awakenings can occur at any time, it remains unknown in principle, whether a particular awakening observed during the presence of a noise stimulus was induced by that stimulus or emerged spontaneously. Nevertheless, correctly determining the awakening probability in question is key when it comes to forecasting noise effects during the night. This article introduces two definitions of reaction probability, discusses their advantages and disadvantages, and develops a model of the influence of the time window duration in which reactions of sleepers are screened on the calculated reaction probability.

Keywords

Event-related activations Noise effects Reaction probability Probability calculation Awakening reaction Sleep disturbances 

Bestimmung physiologischer Reaktionswahrscheinlichkeiten auf Lärmereignisse im Schlaf

Zusammenfassung

Einige im Schlaf auftretende Aktivierungen, z. B. Aufwachreaktionen, können als schlafbeeinträchtigende Effekte von nächtlichen Lärmstimuli (z. B. Flugzeugüberflüge oder Zugvorbeifahrten) aufgefasst werden. Die Auftretenswahrscheinlichkeit solcher Reaktionen ist ein wichtiger Hinweis auf das schlafstörende Potenzial des entsprechenden Lärmstimulus und soll oft so genau wie möglich ermittelt werden. Aufwachreaktionen gelten als stärkste Form der Reaktion auf Lärmstimuli in der Nacht und sind eines der am häufigsten verwendeten Kriterien für den Nachtlärmschutz. Die wissenschaftlich korrekte Ermittlung der lärminduzierten Aufwachwahrscheinlichkeit wurde jüngst unter Lärmwirkungsforschern kontrovers diskutiert. Weil man in jeder Nacht jederzeit auch spontan erwachen kann, ist einem während eines Lärmstimulus beobachteten Aufwachen prinzipiell nicht anzusehen, ob dieses ursächlich auf den Lärmstimulus zurückzuführen war oder spontan auftrat. Dennoch ist die korrekte Bestimmung der entsprechenden Wahrscheinlichkeit für die Prognose von nächtlichen Lärmwirkungen entscheidend. In diesem Artikel werden zwei Definitionen der Reaktionswahrscheinlichkeit eingeführt und deren Vor- und Nachteile besprochen. Ferner wird ein Modell zum Einfluss der Dauer des Zeitfensters, in dem Reaktionen des Schläfers geprüft werden, auf die berechnete Reaktionswahrscheinlichkeit entwickelt.

Schlüsselwörter

Ereignisbezogene Reaktionen Lärmwirkungen Reaktionswahrscheinlichkeit Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung Aufwachreaktionen Schlafstörungen 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU) for their financial support. We also wish to express our gratitude to and commemorate our colleague Alexander Samel who contributed to the first draft versions of this article. Alexander Samel sadly passed away May 19, 2007.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Brink
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Basner
    • 2
  • C. Schierz
    • 1
  • M. Spreng
    • 3
  • K. Scheuch
    • 4
  • G. Bauer
    • 5
  • W.A. Stahel
    • 6
  1. 1.ETH Zürich, MTEC-ZOA Public and Organizational HealthZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Aerospace MedicineGerman Aerospace Center (DLR)CologneGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Physiology and Experimental PathophysiologyFriedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany
  4. 4.Medical Faculty, Institute of Occupational and Social MedicineTechnical University of DresdenDresdenGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  6. 6.ETH Zürich, Seminar for StatisticsZurichSwitzerland

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