In this crazy, loud and fast-paced world that we live in, scientists are warning that our best health is found in moments of silence. How is your noisy lifestyle harming your health, and what can you do about it?
When we are considering how to best improve our health, there are a number of factors that immediately come to mind. We strive to eat healthier, more round diets, eliminating processed foods and sugar at every chance possible, sign up for the local gym or take up running, improving our physical activity levels or we reassess the quality of sleep, considering new mattresses, blackout curtains, sleep sound machines and any other solution to getting a full, undisturbed night of rest. However, are we really covering all our bases?
Scientists and researchers warn that we are overlooking a potential killer in our midst, flying under the radar undetected. The big risk factor that most of us are overlooking? Noise!
That may sound crazy to even consider in today’s society, especially if you live in a larger city. After all, the city never sleeps. We find ourselves using sound machines and music to drown out the noises around us in the hope of creating a calm, comfortable environment. However, even those small noises that we don’t even acknowledge, such as the buzz of your computer running, or the hum of many modern-day appliances may have a lasting impact.
Most of the studies that have currently been conducted revolve around larger sound levels, such as living near an airport or a busy highway, but this information can be applied on a smaller scale in any of our lives. For example, one study out of London’s Heathrow airport revealed that the noise associated with being around aircraft increases your chance of hospital admission or death due to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, or stroke. Another revealed that just a 10-decibel average increase in exposure to aircraft noise led to an increase in stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure that ranged from 7% to 17%!
Furthermore, for those that are currently dealing with mental health struggles, noise pollution is said to be even more irritating. Known as ‘noise annoyance’, this response to noise pollution can create feelings of irritation, annoyance, disturbance or upset, which, when amplified in those that are already struggling with their mood or mental health, can drive people even further into darkness. The increased irritation may also amplify the stress levels that we are currently experiencing, adding to the pressure that it puts on our body, both physically and mentally.
While noise pollution such as that from aircraft or traffic will obviously impact our lives on a greater level, researchers warn even the smallest among of noise is robbing us of the benefits associated with silence. Allowing us to balance our minds, slow our heart rates and release the ever-mounting level of stress that most of us carry on a regular basis – one of the best moves we can make for our physical, mental and emotional health is to schedule some downtime into our day. Find a small block of time, even if it’s just 10 minutes first thing, during your morning coffee, where you can be in the moment. Push all thoughts of your busy day ahead, the to-do list waiting at the office or the fact the kids are about to wake up and destroy your presently clean home. Instead, embrace this one, brief quiet moment. After all, it’s for your health!
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