A new study by the University of Adelaide shows people do not sleep soundily when they are sleeping.
The study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, shows that when people sleep in a sound-based environment, they feel more awake and more energetic.
“In other words, sound is a stimulant of sleep,” Dr Chris Mancuso, lead author of the study, said.
“We are not just looking at a single type of sound, we are looking at sound as a system that helps us fall asleep and that helps wake us up in the morning.”
The study was conducted in two sites.
The first was in a laboratory where participants were trained to perform different tasks and recorded their sleep.
The second was in an actual room in the Adelaide University campus.
In the lab, the participants were asked to sleep in the lab on a computer screen for an hour and then to sleep on a sofa for the same length of time.
“When we were in the real lab, we were asked not to touch anything,” Dr Mancumoso said.
In reality, the researchers were sleeping on a bed on the floor.
Dr Mancuseso said the study showed the effect of sound could be very strong and that it had a lasting effect.
“Sound does not just make you feel tired, but it also helps you to get out of bed and to get to sleep,” he said.
There are several theories about why people sleep better when they sleep sound-free.
The main theory, Dr Macumososo explained, was that people experience a “wave of relaxation” as they sleep.
“So they don’t fall asleep,” he explained.
“But when you sleep sound asleep, it’s a little bit more quiet and less stimulating.
It’s less likely to wake you up, so you don’t feel that surge of relaxation.”
Dr Macusoso also said sound can help people with sleep apnea, a condition in which people cannot breathe properly without sound.
“If you are having apnea and you have a noisy environment, it makes it a lot harder for you to relax, which makes it harder for your heart rate to slow down and for your breathing to be good,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“What we found is that there is a very strong connection between the sound we hear in a room and the relaxation that we experience.”