Have you found yourself being woken up by the sound of the bin collection in the morning?

How about due to the chatter of people out at night, the neighbour’s dog barking or cars driving past? 

Well, you would not be alone, studies show that the average adult loses more than 501 hours of sleep a year due to noise disturbance – the equivalent of nearly 63 full eight-hour long nights. 

Noise has a major impact on sleep. Exposure to too much noise while sleeping not only affects our immediate night’s sleep but also can create short-term issues the next day and over time may result in long-term health issues; both physically and mentally. 

Research backs up this notion. Science shows it harms the most valuable rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, and increases so-called “light sleeping” that doesn’t offer the same benefits.

Fortunately, secondary glazing – a way of reducing incoming noise even if you have old-fashioned or period windows – can help. It interrupts incoming soundwaves, preventing street noise or inconsiderate neighbours from interrupting your much-needed rest.

Effects of Noise During Sleep

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Noise disturbance at night might wake you up and interrupted sleep is less refreshing. Even those noises that may not wake you up completely can affect the time spent in each sleep cycle. 

Sleep cycles are the different stages of sleep we go through every night; from lighter sleep (stages 1 and 2, to deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM). Environmental noise such as transportation and weather increases lighter sleep and decreases deeper and REM sleep (as above). 

Noise during your sleep leads to the production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, causing increased heart rate and blood pressure – signals your body uses to wake up and begin the day. These disrupt your circadian rhythm and can cause longer-term problems if not addressed rapidly. 

Short-Term Effects of Noise

We all must get sufficient undisturbed sleep to feel our best and be at our best. Although you may not notice slight changes to your sleep, these changes can manifest when you wake up and affect the day ahead through sleepiness, irritability, and poorer mental health. 

For example, loud noises may make it more challenging to fall asleep. You may find it hard to drift off if the neighbours are shouting outside or there is too much traffic noise. 

This noise can also lead to the problem of fragmented sleep where you can’t go long stretches without waking up. Interruptions prevent your body from going through the natural cycle and getting the deep rest it needs to thrive.

If the elevated noise is habitual, it can increase alertness – the mind’s attempt to remain wakeful to protect you against night-time dangers. Sound during the night can activate this primordial response, causing you to become more vigilant and less restful, even if you spend a long time in bed. 

Sleep disturbances can profoundly affect your quality of life, preventing you from enjoying yourself as much as you would like. Going days without proper rest leads to several (reversible) symptoms that make daily living unpleasant. 

Daytime sleepiness is an obvious factor. Wakefulness at night denies your body the opportunity to get the rest it needs, preventing it from recovering from the previous day. Sleeping less because of noise makes you feel sluggish and less able to do everything. Some people experience secondary issues, like the desire to eat unhealthy food or consume dangerous energy drinks. 

Irritability is another short-term consequence of night-time noise. You are more likely to feel grumpy if other people keep you awake in bed. 

Even worsening mental health might be a risk. Short-term sleep disruption can worsen stress responses, making pain, anxiety, depression and performance deficits worse than if you slept the normal amount. 

Longer-Term Effects of Noise

Although the long-term relationship between noise-disturbed sleep and health effects is less clear, studies have indicated possible relationships. Poor quality sleep in general over an extended time is associated with weight gain, higher blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. 

Researchers believe these adverse symptoms arise from changes to the body’s underlying biochemistry when time spent sleeping reduces. For example, sleeplessness (due to noise) can reduce immune function long-term, making it harder for the body to fight infection. This problem can lead to chronic immune underactivation, leading to more intractable diseases the body can’t shift alone. 

Alongside this studies suggest a link between sleep problems and inflammation – the body’s response to perceived threats. Scientists believe the lack of sleep makes it more likely the underlying level of immune activity rises, even if pathogens are absent. 

This elevated immune response is a leading driver of the chronic diseases mentioned earlier. Higher inflammation is common among those with “diseases of civilisation,” like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Lastly, continual sleep disruption because of high noise levels can cause increases in stress hormones, like cortisol. While this substance won’t cause harm to the body in the short term, it can lead to immense damage longer-term. Problems include high blood pressure, mood swings, digestive issues, muscle weakness and weight gain. 

So How Can Secondary Glazing Help?

Image of an old period house.

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If you’re trying to find the best way to reduce noise in your home and keep all those outside noises out, then secondary glazing will help. Your windows can keep your home quiet and warm, but keeping them updated is essential if you want peace and comfort at night. 

But if you invest in secondary glazing for noise reduction, will you get your money’s worth? The simple answer is yes. Secondary glazing can reduce the noise from outside by up to 40%-60% and some cases even more (results depend on various factors)- which is a significant difference. If you’re struggling to get sleep because of noisy streets, or you just can’t enjoy the peace at home, then secondary glazing is an absolute must.

Most people start experiencing benefits immediately, like better mood and improved focus during the day. It is particularly helpful if you are studying for a qualification or working in a high-performance role. Getting rest at night gives you the extra ammunition you need to be your best and excel at what you do. 

As such, secondary glazing isn’t just a convenience: it’s an investment in your economic and physical well-being. With a product outlay, you can solve nighttime woes and reclaim your sleep, bringing it to the levels you used to enjoy.

How Does It Actually Work?

So we know that having secondary glazing can reduce the noise pollution in your home by up to 40%-60% and that having a greater gap between the external window and the secondary glazing can play a significant role, but why? To understand this, you need to know how sound works, and how it’s effectively stopped in its tracks.

Sound itself travels in waves. These project and bounce around different surfaces while passing through others – which is why you can hear noises despite them being outside. However, these noises become distorted when intercepted, making them harder to hear clearly – effectively making them much quieter. While your current windows will likely reduce the noise somewhat, they’re not completely effective in distorting these sound waves – which is where the secondary glazing comes in. Acoustic laminated glass is specially designed to keep louder noises out and disrupt even the louder sound waves.

So when there are a lot of cars driving by your home, or your neighbours are being noisy, you’re hearing them because sound waves are penetrating your home. Regular glass isn’t the best way to intercept these waves, which is why secondary glazing using acoustic laminate is more effective. 

Furthermore, sound travels through a window by direct vibration of the glass. The larger air space (or cavity) created by secondary glazing separates the movement of the inner and outer glass, which means they are separate barriers to the noise, reducing these vibrations and therefore reducing the noise heard. 

Types Of Secondary Glazing to Reduce Noise

Secondary glazing comes in various forms with differing impacts on noise reduction. Some types are excellent at keeping street sound and bay, while others focus more on heat retention. 

The Amount Of Ventilation You Need

Before choosing noise-reducing window modifications, consider the ventilation you require. Stuffy apartments often require more active solutions than expansive country mansions. 

Secondary windows might be a superior solution to fixed glazing when in situations where constant air transfer is critical. Fixed glazing may need additional vent installation if it is more airtight. 


You should also consider the aesthetics – how the windows will look when you finish modifying them. Modern fixed secondary glazing is discreet but not invisible, meaning it will not alter the character of your property. Secondary window installation is likely to have a greater effect. 

Why Alternatives To Secondary Glazing Aren’t Ideal

There are various alternatives to secondary glazing, but they aren’t ideal. None of them let you recreate natural sleep. 

Some people use white noise machines to block out the sound. These mask the noise but still fill the ears with sound, potentially leading to the same heightened state of alertness mentioned above. White noise machines can be effective for people with tinnitus and babies who might hallucinate buzzing and beeping, most people find them annoying and unhelpful long-term. 

Earbuds are another option. These fit into the ear canal, creating a barrier between incoming sound waves and the ear drum. Like secondary glazing, they block out most incoming noise but are also uncomfortable to wear. Their foam or silicone construction can irritate the ear canal at night and fall out due to unconscious scratching. 

By contrast, secondary glazing is non-invasive and passive. It makes bedrooms quiet instead of attempting to mask or distract from existing noise in built-up environments. 


Studies continue to show a pattern between disturbed sleep through noise being associated with health deterioration, and there is growing evidence that around-the-clock exposure to noise pollution negatively affects health too. Therefore, homeowners must prioritise resolving any noise pollution they are experiencing at home. 

If you want to reduce noise in your home, having secondary glazing installed is an absolute must. Your windows are the most vulnerable part of your home for sound penetration, and having that secondary glazing can help to reduce the noise levels.

So if you’re ready to put an end to restless nights or frustrating evenings at home brought upon by noise give City Sound a call on 0208 523 3210 to discuss how we can help.