We all know that a good night’s sleep is vital for increased energy levels – and it also has a host of other health benefits such as reduced hypertension, improved concentration and better overall health. So when it comes to soundproofing your home, the bedroom is very likely to be a top priority – so how do you eradicate noise and sound pollution in a bedroom?
Soundproofing Bedroom Walls
If you’re living in a terraced property or apartment block, or simply in a busy neighbourhood, you may need to soundproof your bedroom walls to effectively block the sounds coming from your noisy neighbours. Depending upon your budget – and the severity of the noise complaint – there is a range of options that will restore peace and quiet to your bedroom.
The first step of any soundproofing system is to understand if the noise complaint is airborne or structure-borne. Put simply – if you are kept awake by the sound of your neighbours talking, their TV, music, dogs barking or other sounds from the street – that is airborne noise. If your sleep is disturbed by washing machines, banging on the walls or machinery in your building – that is structure-borne noise.
Soundproofing Bedroom Walls Against Airborne Noise
If it’s the sound of the neighbour’s TV keeping you up at night, soundproofing the interior of the wall is an effective solution. This can be done to vary levels, depending on the volume and severity of the noise complaint.
Light Noise Complaints
Installing acoustic plasterboard systems can reduce the sounds of TV, music and light chatter from transferring through the walls. A great option for smaller spaces, acoustic plasterboard can reduce airborne noise pollution by up to 40dB. Installing acoustic plasterboard will result in approximately 20mm of space loss, but it is quick to install and is a cost effective solution.
Mid- to Severe Noise Complaints
Louder and more persistent airborne noise complaints may require a more heavy-duty approach to soundproofing. It may be necessary to remove the existing drywall and any current insulation inside of it – replacing it with high-quality acoustic mineral wool, and finishing the wall with acoustic plasterboard. By combining the acoustic mineral wool with the acoustic plasterboard, it is possible to achieve a significant reduction of airborne noise – up to 50dB. This solution will result in approximately 50mm of space loss, but will give excellent results.
Severe Noise Complaints
In cases where the noise complaint is extreme and severe, it is advisable to remove and replace the existing drywall – fitting acoustic wool within the cavity, and adding resilient bars to decouple the wall from the structure itself. This soundproofing system can achieve up to 55dB reductions in airborne noise, and will result in approximately 45mm of space loss. This system will reduce low to mid-low frequencies, as well as reducing vibration and structure-borne noise.
Effective soundproofing is like baking a cake: anyone can buy the most expensive ingredients – but if you don’t follow the strict science behind the recipe you won’t be pleased with the results.
Soundproofing Bedroom Windows
Windows are the biggest weak spot in any home, in terms of noise pollution entering your property. Whilst there are a number of cheaper techniques that offer small reductions in the level of noise pollution – including installing blinds and heavy curtains – nothing is more effective at blocking sound from entering your home than installing specialist soundproof windows.
Soundproof windows dampen and dissipate the soundwaves, preventing noise transmission from outside to inside with:
- Specialised glazing – particularly using sheets of glass that have different thicknesses
- Lamination of glazing with elasticity reducing vinyls
- Acoustic seals to prevent noise transmission around the frame
- Acoustic foams used during insulation
- Engineered timber or aluminium structures to compliment the acoustic glazing
Soundproof windows will offer significant reductions of noise pollution in your bedroom – ranging from 35dB all the way up to 51dB and 55dB with the installation of a secondary window.
Not sure what a reduction of 35, 51 or 55dB sounds like? Hear the difference for yourself with our handy Noise Tool.
Soundproof Bedroom Doors
After your windows, your bedroom door is next in line when it comes to letting unwanted noise into your bedroom at night. Conversations from flatmates can pass under and around the door, disturbing your sleep – or a door slamming downstairs can have yours rattling upstairs. So how do you soundproof a bedroom door?
Installing acoustic seals around the door frame will ensure that there are no air gaps between the door and the frame itself. This will prevent sound transmitting around the door, as well as ensuring that your door shuts tight – eliminating any rattling noise. However, acoustic seals will only be effective if the door is adequately soundproofed – for example, a light wooden or glazed door cannot prevent sound from passing through it, and so in this case installing acoustic seals alone would be redundant.
The best option when it comes to soundproofing your bedroom door is to install a specialised door that is made of soundproof materials. Thick timber with a solid core, soundproof doors are installed with perimeter sound seals and door bottoms as well as specialised noise reduction locks and handles to prevent sound from entering your bedroom.
Soundproof Your Ceiling
Do you have upstairs neighbours that seem to stomp around at night? Or play loud music at all hours? If so, soundproofing your bedroom ceiling is a must – and there are two options to choose from:
Decouple Your Ceiling
Your bedroom ceiling can be decoupled by installing a system of resilient bars on the underside of your ceiling, which are then covered with acoustic plasterboards to reduce both airborne and structure-borne noise.
Installing a ceiling that is totally isolated from the building’s structure will dramatically reduce the effects of both airborne and impact noise. An independent ceiling will encroach on space and so it is only recommended in bedrooms that have a higher ceiling height.
The Science of Sleep Disturbance and Noise Pollution
There’s nothing quite like a peaceful night’s sleep. But when it is disturbed by the sounds of noisy neighbours, airplanes overhead or the morning commute, you can find yourself waking in a poor mood, feeling ill-prepared for the day ahead. Research has shown that the effects of disturbed sleep are actually far more impactful than simply feeling groggy the next day.
Sleep disturbance is one of just seven categories of adverse health effects that are outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Poor sleep is listed as a major health concern as it causes measurable, negative changes in our hormone levels, our glucose regulation and our overall cardiovascular function. These changes cause:
- Dysregulation of your appetite, which can lead to overeating and weight gain
- Inhibited cortisol production leads to increased feelings of stress and anxiety
- Increased blood pressure and impaired immune processes put strain on the body
- Decreased memory consolidation resulting in reduced academic and career performance
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, leading to increased mortality
Continued exposure to noise pollution and the long-term issues that it can cause regarding sleep patterns have been shown to have considerable and far-reaching effects on our health. Noise pollution leading to poor sleep can have even more dramatic effects on children – who require more sleep in order to process lessons learnt in school, and for restorative and growth functions.