News ID: 207383
Published: 0834 GMT January 02, 2018

Is silence the best way to a stress-free life?

Is silence the best way to a stress-free life?
Children growing up with aircraft or traffic noise are significantly behind their peers with reading.
express.co.uk

The constant barrage and blare of unwanted noise in our daily lives can damage our mental and physical wellbeing.

Here POPPY SZKILER gives 10 reasons to make this year a quiet one, according to express.co.uk.

We all know how vital it is to get a little peace and quiet at times but how often do we actually manage to achieve that?

From pinging mobiles to the thump of music escaping from headphones, loudly spinning washing machines and rowdy neighbors, we are surrounded by excessive and unwanted sounds.

I was once in the Post Office, where staff and customers had to endure a high-pitched, constant beeping from a door alert which was painful to the ear.

This type of intrusive noise is not just irritating, if it is sustained over a long period it can seriously impact our health.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), noise pollution is the second biggest environmental threat to health after air pollution.

It reports that 40 per cent of us are exposed to noise levels in excess of 55 decibels (dB) at night, a level that disturbs sleep, concentration and productivity, raises blood pressure and increases incidences of heart disease.

The WHO recommends a noise level of 30dB for uninterrupted sleep which is equivalent to that of a low whisper.

We often have no choice but to suffer dangerous levels of sound in our environments because at design stage, sound quality has not been made a priority or its health impact considered.

The effect that noise has on our wellbeing is something I have been aware of all my life.

My grandfather John Connell OBE founded the Noise Abatement Society in 1959, after lobbying the Noise Abatement Act in Parliament.

My mother, Gloria Elliott OBE, now heads the charity. Silence is liberating.

Thinking decisions through from start to end with no distractions is something I try to do for an hour each morning.

Taking time out helps me to stay peaceful. Creativity flows. It can be a comfort in challenging times and a way to solve problems.

It is one of the reasons why I founded Quiet Mark in 2012 — an award for household appliances, tools and vehicles that reduce noise output while maintaining high performance.

Here are 10 reasons why choosing the quiet life might be the best resolution to make for 2018.

 

Decrease your risk of heart disease

 

According to who, about three per cent of deaths caused by coronary heart disease are directly linked to chronic noise exposure.

 

Improve your fertility

 

A study by researchers at Seoul National University, published earlier this year in the journal Environmental Pollution, found a significant association between exposure to environmental noise and the subsequent incidence of male infertility.

It suggested that long-term exposure to noise has a role in the causes of male infertility.

 

Reduce your stress levels

 

One indicator of stress is high blood pressure. Research published in European Heart Journal looked at the effect of living near airports on sleeping habits and found a strong link between increases in blood pressure when exposed to noise every 15 minutes.

 

Calmer kids

 

Constant social media notifications keep you in the loop but as recent studies indicate, they can affect sleep patterns. Australian research published in May this year found that children with phones in their bedrooms at night had poor sleep habits, which were directly associated with decreased self-esteem and their coping mechanisms.

 

Get better sleep

 

A new book called Why We Sleep by neuroscientist Matthew Walker warns that a sleep-loss epidemic resulting from changing social and employment patterns, together with devices such as smartphones, is having ‘a catastrophic impact on our health, life expectancy, safety, productivity and the education of our children’.

Reducing noise can play an integral role in our quest to get a better night’s sleep.

Addressing noise-levels in your sleeping environment is one key step but keeping noise to a minimum throughout the day will also make us calmer in general and ready for sleep when we go to bed.

 

Shed excess pounds

 

A study carried out by Swedish researchers and published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal uncovered a link between exposure to road traffic, rail and aircraft noise and the risk of developing midriff bulge, one of the most harmful types of fat deposit around the body.

As a physiological stressor it bumps up the production of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing fat deposits around the middle.

Boost your memory

According to Professor Stephen Stansfield, a leading noise expert, at least 20 studies have found children growing up with aircraft or traffic noise are significantly behind their peers with reading, language skills and memory.

 

It has been proven that too much cortisol in the body stops the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s planning center, from working properly, which makes it harder to think and remember information.

 

Be more productive at work

 

There is evidence that the trend for open-plan offices has not been helpful in terms of productivity. Noise is often cited as one of the most annoying aspects of office life.

One study found that clerical workers in a noisy room were less motivated to complete cognitive tasks and had elevated stress hormone levels, compared to those in a quiet room.

 

Settle your tummy

 

Stress has a negative influence on irritable bowel syndrome.

The hormone cortisol, released when we are exposed to noise regularly, is central to producing many of the physical effects that emotional stress causes in the body.

 

More relaxing home life

 

Research carried out by Quiet Mark and Defra showed 62 percent of respondents felt that noise from household appliances adversely affected the enjoyment of home life, while 53 per cent said outside noise affected the extent to which they opened their doors and windows.

 

   
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