A familiar scene: We turn off the light, lay our head on the pillow, close our eyes. Then something comes to our mind and we begin to think. In the conversation in our heads, one thing leads to another and guess what? We suddenly notice that hours have passed.
Yet another familiar scene: We turn off the light, lay our head on the pillow, close our eyes. Then the person with whom we share the house or the room starts snoring, klaxons sound from the street, or the next door neighbor's television reaches our ears through the wall. Hours have passed while we were trying to sleep amidst all of these noises.
Thoughts that make it difficult for you to fall asleep as well as the surrounding noises in your environment can have a deep impact on your brain as it needs sound sleep and rest. For this reason, you’ll likely need to rearrange your environment so your mind can reach a state of calm during sleep. But how?
Did you know that you can use "sleep sounds" to both temper intrusive thoughts and block unwelcome sounds?
Sleep, just like breathing, is an action our body does by itself, even if we don't think about it. However, external factors such as stress, nutrition, lifestyle, light, and noise pollution can affect this natural flow and disrupt our sleep quality. According to research, 15% to 35% of society has difficulty falling asleep and maintaining a good night’s sleep.
Sleep quality often determines the quality of our waking moments as well. Therefore, a good night's sleep actually plays a much more important role in our daily lives than we may think.
According to studies carried out by the US National Sleep Foundation, our brain is very sensitive to sound during sleep onset and while asleep. Even if the noise doesn’t directly cause us to wake up, it can affect the time we spend in certain sleep stages. Environmental noise shortens deep sleep and REM phases, while at the same time causing us to release more adrenaline and cortisol hormones, increasing heart rate and blood sugar levels.
In addition to reducing environmental noise, "sleep sounds" also quiet mental noise. Relaxing sounds activate the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering your cortisol levels. Thus, your body is free of stress, beginning to relax as the transition to sleep becomes easier and sleep quality improves.
Nature sounds such as rain, wind, thunder, and waterfalls; ambient sounds like ventilation, wind chimes, coffee shops; or calm music… You can discover the sound that suits you best among the many options. It would be best to do your own research on this, because what may be a comforting sound to one may be a disruptive sound to another. Before starting the trial and error method, you may want to get to know these sounds and their effects a little better.
Modern life has squeezed many of us into cities and we may rarely come into contact with nature. But our need for the relaxing sounds of nature such as rain, sea, waterfalls, tree sounds hasn’t changed. These sounds, which you can use as "sleep sounds", not only increase your sleep quality, but also:
- Increase efficiency.
- Lift your mood.
- Help your body relax.
- Make you react less to stressors.
- Improve your decision-making skills.
Let's take a look at what ambient sound is... Ambient sound is a constant, low-frequency background noise. Some of us find ambient sounds relaxing, which can also be referred to as background noise. Soothing natural sounds such as rain, thunder, grasshoppers, or birds, and sounds such as a coffee shop, wind chimes, or ventilation sounds can be defined as ambient sounds. These sounds not only make it easier for you to fall asleep, but also help you to have a good night’s sleep. But how?
- Ambient sounds don’t consist of repetitive sounds; there are some small changes in frequency that do not interrupt your sleep. These small changes distract you from thoughts that occupy your mind because you concentrate on these changes. As a result, you calm down.
- Ambient sounds positively affect the autonomic nervous system, allowing you to relax.
To find the best sleep sound for you, you can take a look at the Sleep Sounds on Meditopia's “Sleep” page.