Traffic Noise, Insomnia and Sleep Medication Use

Invited paper

Jorunn Evandt

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 15:00 - 15:20

0.4 Brussels (189)

Background Few population-based studies on the association between road traffic noise and sleep disturbances have focused on outcomes such as symptoms of insomnia. Outcomes where noise is suggested as the cause of sleep disturbances are more commonly used. Sleep medication use may be an indicator of severe sleep disturbances; however, studies on the association between road traffic noise and sleep medication use remain scarce. Aims The aims were to study the associations between night-time road traffic noise and 1) symptoms of insomnia (difficulties falling asleep, awakenings during the night, and waking up too early) and 2) use of sleep medications, both self-reported and register-based. We also assessed the agreement between self-reported and register-based sleep medication use. Methods: The study population is from the Health and Environment in Oslo study (HELMILO) (2009-10) (N=13,019). We defined insomnia symptoms as sleep problems occurring ≥ 3-5 times per week. Individual data on sleep medications were obtained from the Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD). Modeled noise levels (Lnight) were assigned to each participantís home address. Logistic regression models were used to analyze the associations. For assessing the agreement between self-reported and register-based use of sleep medications we computed sensitivity and specificity. Results: We observed statistically significant associations between noise exposure and all three symptoms of insomnia. Self-reported sleep medication use was not associated with noise. A spline estimated for the association between traffic noise and register-based sleep medication use indicated a linear relationship. Compared with register-based sleep medication use, self- reported medication use showed high specificity, but lower sensitivity. Conclusions: Our results suggest that individuals living in noise exposed areas have an increased risk of experiencing symptoms of insomnia and using sleep medications. Traffic noise related differently to self-reported sleep medication use and register-based sleep medication use. This may reflect the difference between self-reported and objective data.

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