OBJECTIVE The effects of aircraft noise on sleep macrostructure (Rechtschaffen and Kales) and microstructure (American Sleep Disorders Association [ASDA] arousal criteria) were investigated. PATIENTS AND METHODS For each of 10 subjects (mean age 35.3 years, 5 males), a baseline night without aircraft noise (control), and two nights with exposure to 64 noise events with a maximum sound pressure level (SPL) of either 45 or 65 dBA were chosen. Spontaneous and noise-induced alterations during sleep classified as arousals (ARS), changes to lighter sleep stages (CSS), awakenings including changes to sleep stage 1 (AS1), and awakenings (AWR) were analyzed. RESULTS The number of events per night increased in the order AWR, AS1, CSS, and ARS under control conditions as well as under the two noise conditions. Furthermore, probabilities for sleep disruptions increased with increasing noise level. ARS were observed about fourfold compared to AWR, irrespective of control or noise condition. CONCLUSIONS Under the conditions investigated, different sleep parameters show different sensitivities, but also different specificities for noise-induced sleep disturbances. We conclude that most information on sleep disturbances can be achieved by investigating robust classic parameters like AWR or AS1, although ASDA electroencephalographic (EEG) arousals might add relevant information in situations with low maximum SPLs, chronic sleep deprivation or chronic exposure.