Sleep disruption is linked with chronic disease, and aircraft noise can disrupt sleep. However, there are few investigations of aircraft noise and sleep in large cohorts.
We examined associations between aircraft noise and self-reported sleep duration and quality in the Nurses' Health Study, a large prospective cohort.
Aircraft nighttime equivalent sound levels (Lnight) and day-night average sound levels (DNL) were modeled around 90 U.S. airports from 1995 to 2015 in 5-y intervals using the Aviation Environmental Design Tool and linked to geocoded participant residential addresses. Lnight exposure was dichotomized at the lowest modeled level of 45 A-weighted decibels [dB(A)] and at multiple cut points for DNL. Multiple categories of both metrics were compared with dB(A). Self-reported short sleep duration ( h/24-h day) was ascertained in 2000, 2002, 2008, 2012, and 2014, and poor sleep quality (frequent trouble falling/staying asleep) was ascertained in 2000. We analyzed repeated sleep duration measures using generalized estimating equations and sleep quality by conditional logistic regression. We adjusted for participant-level demographics, behaviors, comorbidities, and environmental exposures (greenness and light at night) and examined effect modification.
In 35,226 female nurses averaging 66.1 years of age at baseline, prevalence of short sleep duration and poor sleep quality were 29.6% and 13.1%, respectively. In multivariable models, exposure to Lnight dB(A) was associated with 23% [95% confidence interval (CI): 7%, 40%] greater odds of short sleep duration but was not associated with poor sleep quality (9% lower odds; 95% CI: , 19%). Increasing categories of Lnight and DNL dB(A) suggested an exposure-response relationship for short sleep duration. We observed higher magnitude associations among participants living in the West, near major cargo airports, and near water-adjacent airports and among those reporting no hearing loss.
Aircraft noise was associated with short sleep duration in female nurses, modified by individual and airport characteristics. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP10959.