A systematic review and meta-analysis of wind turbine noise effects on sleep using validated objective and subjective sleep assessments

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Little is known about the potential impacts of wind turbine noise (WTN) on sleep. Previous research is limited to cross-sectional studies reporting anecdotal impacts on sleep using inconsistent sleep metrics. This meta-analysis sought to comprehensively review studies evaluating the impact of WTN using widely accepted and validated objective and subjective sleep assessments. Search terms included: “wind farm noise”, “wind turbine noise”, “wind turbine sound”, “wind turbine noise exposure” AND “sleep”. Only original articles published in English published after the year 2000 and reporting sleep outcomes in the presence of WTN using polysomnography, actigraphy or psychometrically validated sleep questionnaires were included. Uniform outcomes of the retrieved studies were meta-analysed to examine WTN effects on objective and subjective sleep outcomes. Nine studies were eligible for review and five studies were meta-analysed. Meta-analyses (Hedges’ g; 95% confidence interval [CI]) revealed no significant differences in objective sleep onset latency (0.03, 95% CI −0.34 to 0.41), total sleep time (−0.05, 95% CI −0.77 to 0.67), sleep efficiency (−0.25, 95% CI −0.71 to 0.22) or wake after sleep onset (1.25, 95% CI −2.00 to 4.50) in the presence versus absence of WTN (all p >.05). Subjective sleep estimates were not meta-analysed because measurement outcomes were not sufficiently uniform for comparisons between studies. This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that WTN does not significantly impact key indicators of objective sleep. Cautious interpretation remains warranted given variable measurement methodologies, WTN interventions, limited sample sizes, and cross-sectional study designs, where cause-and-effect relationships are uncertain. Well-controlled experimental studies using ecologically valid WTN, objective and psychometrically validated sleep assessments are needed to provide conclusive evidence regarding WTN impacts on sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13228
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number4
Early online date12 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • objective sleep
  • polysomnography
  • psychometrically validated assessment
  • sleep disruption
  • subjective sleep
  • wind turbine noise


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