Shambhavi Thakur, Maristella Lucchini, Daniela Macia, Natalie Barnett, Sarah Berger
Presented at World Sleep, Rio de Janeiro, 2023
Based on a socioecological model, several factors at different levels affect sleep. At the level of the environment, many neighborhood characteristics play a crucial role, such as light, green spaces, temperature and noise. Although research has been conducted on the effects of neighborhood noise on adult sleep, there remains a remarkable scarcity of studies investigating the specific implications of noise exposure on child sleep. The few studies that have explored the effects of noise on children's sleep, have mostly relied on parental reports of child sleep. The aim of this study was to explore the association between neighborhood noise and objective infant sleep data.
Material and Methods
A total of 134 families of infants aged 5-18 months (10.3 ± 3.23) from the Greater New York City area participated in a study which was conducted during the summer of 2023. The parents reported on perceived noise disturbance on their child’s sleep during the night and completed the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire-Revised (BISQ-R). Objective sleep data of the infants and parent nighttime visit information was collected using Nanit baby monitors for 2 weeks (average 10.93 nights per infant).
To examine the relationship between objective total nighttime sleep (TST), parental visits and parent-reported longest stretch of sleep with perceived noise, linear regression analysis was employed. Additionally, logistic regression was used to identify associations between perceived noise and parent-reported sleep onset latency (SOL). Infants’s age was included as a covariate in all analyses.
Nineteen percent of parents reported that noise during the night disturbed their child’s sleep and the average age of the children in this group was not significantly different from those who did not report noise disturbance. Main causes of noise reported were loud vehicles, loud neighbors, firecrackers and construction work after regular hours. Children whose parents reported no impact of nighttime noise on their child's sleep exhibited significantly longer TST, on average 52 minutes longer per night (p < 0.001), and experienced fewer objective parental visits (1.14) during the night compared to those whose parents reported sleep disturbances caused by noise at night (3.27) (p < 0.001). The former group also reported the longest stretch of sleep to be on average 2 hours and 23 minutes longer than the latter group (p < 0.001). Parents who reported nighttime noise disturbances were also 2.5 times more likely to report their child taking more than 15 minutes to fall asleep compared to parents who reported no disturbances (p = 0.035).
This study provides preliminary evidence on the significant impact of nighttime neighborhood noise on infant sleep patterns. Given the importance of sleep in infancy and early childhood for optimal neurodevelopment, information on upstream determinants of optimal sleep is relevant to develop interventions and for appropriate public policies. One strength of the study is the inclusion of objective sleep metrics, but future studies should be conducted on a larger population and include objective noise measurements.
About the researchers
The authors include Shambhavi Thakur, Maristella Lucchini, Daniela Macia, Natalie Barnett, and Sarah Berger.
Shambhavi Thakur serves as Clinical Research Data Analyst at Nanit. She holds a Masters degree in Health Informatics and Life Sciences. She oversees the research collaborations with various universities and analyzes sleep data for internal as well as external studies.
Dr. Maristella Lucchini serves as Senior Clinical Researcher at Nanit. In her role, Maristella works to secure grant funding in collaboration with Nanit’s university research partners and supports the development of the company’s research collaborations around the world. Previously, Maristella served as an Assistant Research Scientist in the Division of Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center where she led projects across several cohorts focusing on sleep health for pregnant and postpartum women and their children. Maristella’s research focused on underserved communities and sleep health disparities in the perinatal period. During her years as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry, Maristella was selected to participate in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Young Investigator Research Forum. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.
Dr. Natalie Barnett serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.
Dr. Sarah Berger is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She received her PhD from New York University. Dr. Berger was an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a Fulbright Research Scholar. Dr. Berger studies the interaction between cognitive and motor development in infancy, particularly response inhibition and its implications for the allocation of attention in very young children. A line of National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded work, in collaboration with Dr. Anat Scher, has been the first to study the impact of sleep on motor problem solving in infancy.