Since outside noises can easily startle people awake and make it difficult to fall back asleep, your bedroom should promote restful sleep. But for many, a tranquil bedroom can be hard to come by. Let’s take a closer look at 5 sleep sounds that encourage rest.
How does the science of sleep sounds work? Even if it doesn’t fully wake you up, environmental noise at night can trigger your fear response. This will raise your heart rate and influence your sleep quality. Studies show that the type of sound and the unexpected change in noise levels tend to disrupt sleep more than the noise’s abrupt volume.
If you’re fighting to sleep through outside noise, a sound machine or smartphone app might be the answer. These calming tones can help mask outside sounds by providing a constant background hum, helping you unwind and drift asleep.
Like a whirring fan or an air conditioner’s hum, white noise provides a smooth, constant stream of sound. Researchers at Brown University Medical School reported patients in a hospital intensive care unit awakened less frequently during the night with white noise. A mixture of all sound frequencies at once, at the same level of intensity, white noise does an excellent job of masking other noises that can disrupt your sleep.
Researchers compared the soothing effects of listening to sounds from a natural environment versus an artificial one and found that natural sounds produced more relaxation. Think of the sounds of crickets chirping, a peaceful evening in a forest, or a gentle breeze.
What’s interesting is that natural sounds also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the “rest and digest” of the nervous system responsible for balancing and maintaining the body’s systems, including getting quality sleep. For individuals with the most substantial amounts of stress, nature sounds induced the most significant relaxation levels.
When a head full of concerns is keeping you awake, music might help you unwind a little. Researchers say it’s best to avoid music with lyrics that may run your active mind. Instead, try classical, folk, ambient, or slow-paced contemporary music.
Sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than another human voice. The folks at Calm know this, and that’s why they created “Sleep Stories.” The Sleep Stories are exactly what you imagine — comforting tales that mix music, sound effects, and soothing voice talent to help you drift into slumber. Think of these as adult lullabies.
Pink noise is steadily gaining awareness as a helpful sleep aid. It’s different from white noise in that it has more intensity in the bass frequencies, it’s slightly deeper, and many people find it doesn’t sound as high-pitched.
The concept of using pink noise for sleep is relatively new. Still, encouraging data shows that pink noise may help people rest more deeply and even heighten the ability to process memories overnight.
Did these sleep sounds help you? If so, please be sure to subscribe to our weekly Heart & Soul Newsletter. Also, for more sleep tips, check out 3 Easy Breathing Exercises for Better Sleep.