A laboratory study on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep: Results of the polysomnographic WiTNES study
Journal article, 2020

Study Objectives: Assess the physiologic and self-reported effects of wind turbine noise (WTN) on sleep. Methods: Laboratory sleep study (n = 50 participants: n = 24 living close to wind turbines and n = 26 as a reference group) using polysomnography, electrocardiography, salivary cortisol, and questionnaire endpoints. Three consecutive nights (23:00-07:00): one habituation followed by a randomized quiet Control and an intervention night with synthesized 32 dB LAEq WTN. Noise in WTN nights simulated closed and ajar windows and low and high amplitude modulation depth. Results: There was a longer rapid eye movement (REM) sleep latency (+16.8 min) and lower amount of REM sleep (-11.1 min, -2.2%) in WTN nights. Other measures of objective sleep did not differ significantly between nights, including key indicators of sleep disturbance (sleep efficiency: Control 86.6%, WTN 84.2%; wakefulness after sleep onset: Control 45.2 min, WTN 52.3 min; awakenings: Control n = 11.4, WTN n = 11.5) or the cortisol awakening response. Self-reported sleep was consistently rated as worse following WTN nights, and individuals living close to wind turbines had worse self-reported sleep in both the Control and WTN nights than the reference group. Conclusions: Amplitude-modulated continuous WTN may impact on self-assessed and some aspects of physiologic sleep. Future studies are needed to generalize these findings outside of the laboratory and should include more exposure nights and further examine possible habituation or sensitization.

Wind turbine noise

Cortisol awakening response

Self-reported sleep




Michael Smith

University of Pennsylvania

University of Gothenburg

M. Ögren

University of Gothenburg

Pontus Thorsson

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics

Akustikverkstan AB

Laith Hussain-Alkhateeb

University of Gothenburg

Eja Pedersen

Lund University

Jens Forssén

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics

Julia Ageborg Morsing

University of Gothenburg

Kerstin Persson Waye

University of Gothenburg


0161-8105 (ISSN)

Vol. 43 9 1-14

Subject Categories


Applied Psychology

Environmental Health and Occupational Health





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