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    Urban Residents Sleep Worse Than Villagers, Report Finds

    City dwellers experience poorer sleep quality than rural residents, primarily due to excessive artificial lighting and noise, according to the latest report by Domondo in collaboration with Elephate. The report delves into how urban and rural environments impact sleep, highlighting significant differences between the two.

    The Issue of Light Pollution

    The Light Pollution Think Tank’s findings underscore that light pollution is widespread in Poland and continues to worsen. In 2022, the nighttime sky was, on average, 147% brighter than the natural sky, with urban areas being significantly more affected. A striking 58% of Poles live in areas where the sky is so bright that the Milky Way is no longer visible.

    Dr. Andrzej Kotarba, a professor at the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences, explains that even a single streetlamp can exacerbate the problem if its light is misdirected or too intense. This excessive brightness disrupts the natural night environment, impacting sleep.

    Sleep Disturbances in Poland

    Domondo’s survey from April and May reveals that over 90% of Poles experience difficulties falling asleep. Annoying lights entering bedrooms wake 32% of people a few times a year, 16% a few times a month, and 5% a few times a week.

    Factors Affecting Sleep

    Nearly 75% of Poles recognize that the speed of falling asleep and sleep quality depend on their place of residence. A majority (64%) believe that urban residents have more trouble sleeping due to high levels of artificial lighting. Traffic noise, illuminated buildings, billboards, and streetlights are the primary culprits, affecting 55% and 54% of respondents, respectively. Other disturbances include noisy neighbors, occasional events, restaurant and bar activity, construction, and air pollution.

    Conversely, rural residents report sleep disruptions from insects entering through open windows (57%), noise from agricultural machinery (44%), and sounds from farm animals (38%).

    Regulatory Changes Needed

    Half of the surveyed Poles think local authorities neglect the issue of excessive lighting and fail to take preventive measures. Despite widespread calls for regulation, the Ministry of Development and Technology has no current plans for legal changes. Nonetheless, 75% of respondents advocate for regulating light and noise levels.

    The Ombudsman, Prof. Marcin Wiącek, supports this, noting that blue LED lights pose a significant problem. Simple technical solutions can mitigate LED lighting’s harmful effects, but legislative action is necessary to ensure public health protection.

    Public Suggestions for Improvement

    Survey respondents proposed various measures to combat light and noise pollution, including better lighting management, urban space planning, restricting night-time construction, replacing noisy trams, using noise-dampening structures along major roads, and funding blackout blinds or external shutters.

    For a detailed analysis, the full report “Do Urban Residents Sleep Worse Than Villagers? How Excess Light and Noise Affect Poles’ Sleep” is available online.

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