It may seem rather unfair that you seem to awaken from sleep with sound of a door softly closing while someone else you know can literally sleep though an earthquake. Researchers are now telling us that pulses called spindles may be able to help certain brains to block outside noise during sleep and which may be what is responsible for this phenomenon.
Heavy sleepers are thought to have this system wherein the consciousness is protected from outside noise, permitting the person to sleep though the noise. This works to cut out noise in the same way as shut eyes are able to cut out light, and people who produce more of these ‘spindles’ are more likely to be able to block out noises at night and have a more peaceful sleep.
This discovery could help in countering problems that people have while sleeping; by cutting the noise that prevents sound sleep. It could be that sometime in the future, drugs or ‘chemical’ earplugs could help a sleeping person block out the noise and get a better night’s sleep.
To varying degrees, we all have this noise blocking mechanism that kicks in when we sleep, and researchers are now looking at the possibility of being able to enhance this natural mechanism.