Journal Article A Neurophysiological Approach for Evaluating Noise-Induced Sleep Disturbance: Calculating the Time Constant of the Dynamic Characteristics in the Brainstem

Tagusari, Junta  ,  Matsui, Toshihito

Chronic sleep disturbance induced by traffic noise is considered to cause environmental sleep disorder, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and other stress-related diseases. However, noise indices for the evaluation of sleep disturbance are not based on the neurophysiological process of awakening regulated by the brainstem. In this study, through the neurophysiological approach, we attempted (1) to investigate the thresholds of awakening due to external stimuli in the brainstem; (2) to evaluate the dynamic characteristics in the brainstem and (3) to verify the validity of existing noise indices. Using the mathematical Phillips–Robinson model, we obtained thresholds of awakening in the brainstem for different durations of external stimuli. The analysis revealed that the brainstem seemed insensitive to short stimuli and that the response to external stimuli in the brainstem could be approximated by a first-order lag system with a time constant of 10–100 s. These results suggest that the brainstem did not integrate sound energy as external stimuli, but neuroelectrical signals from auditory nerve. To understand the awakening risk accumulated in the brainstem, we introduced a new concept of “awakening potential” instead of sound energy.

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