Noise at night can be disruptive. If you’ve ever lived next to a train station or had a snoring partner, you would know the pain. However, not all noise is bad for you. Some sounds have been scientifically shown to help you get a better night’s rest. Here are six sounds that could help you sleep and relax better:
1) White Noise
White noise is the static noise a television makes when it’s being tuned and is commonly used to mask background noises. It is a consistent sound containing every frequency within the range of human hearing. And while it might seem strange to add more noise to a noisy environment, white noise masks sporadic sounds in a way that makes them blend into the background – so your brain doesn’t notice them. (1)
If hearing white noise makes you cringe, pink noise is a great alternative for helping you sleep and relax. Pink noise has the volume of higher frequencies reduced which produces sounds that some people find more balanced and easier to listen to than white noise. A study in the Journal of Sound and Vibration showed people who listened to pink noise spent more time in the deeper phase of sleep compared to white noise. (2) Pink noise has even been shown to boost memory recall! (3)
2) Sounds of Water
In the Kokoon Relax Mobile App, our Ocean Waves audio track is by far the most popular sound that people listen to for their sleep and relaxation. Part of the reason why people find the sounds of water relaxing lies in our brain and how we interpret sounds – either as “threats” or “non-threats”. Dr Orfeau Buxton, an associate professor of Biobehavioual Health at the Pennsylvania State University, says our brain interprets the whooshing sound of water as non-threatening, which puts us in a state of calm. He goes on to say “It’s like the ocean waves are saying: don’t worry, don’t worry”. (4)
3) Sounds of Nature
We are often don’t hear the crickets croaking in the grass or the gentle blowing of forest trees (especially if you live in the city) but listening to these sounds of nature can promote better relaxation and well being. Specifically, nature sounds are associated with inducing “external-focused attention” rather than “inward-focused attention”. This is where you are focused on your surroundings rather than worrying about things specific to yourself. (5, 6)
4) Slow Melodies
Music can lower your blood pressure and heart rate as well as soothe anxiety – everything that is needed to calm a racing mind before bed. The National Sleep Foundation has found adults who listen to 45 minutes of music before bed, fall asleep faster and sleep longer (7). Slow tunes around 60-80 beats per minute have been found ideal for sleep, commonly seen as classical, jazz and folk songs. However, music is a personal preference and listening to familiar sounds will relax you the most.
Imagine a soft, gentle voice telling you nice things about the world in a pleasant tone that’s low, slow and relaxed. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, which is the name given to a tingling sensation brought on by watching and/or listening to someone do a soothing repetitive motion, such as brushing hair, folding towels or whispering pleasant thoughts. For some people this tingling sensation is both relaxing and sleep inducing – but beware it doesn’t work for everyone. Listen to this tingling review of Kokoon headphones, spoken in ASMR, and decide for yourself.
6) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Not being able to sleep, knowing you need to fall sleep, and then feeling increasingly anxious when you can’t, is a familiar pattern for many. For some people, the vicious circle is so ingrained that the very act of going to bed is associated with anxiety – making it a losing battle from the beginning.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based exercises such as mindful breathing and body scans can help to refocus the mind and break the negative thought cycles that prevent a person from falling asleep. CBT is currently one of the most effective treatments for sleep disorders (8,9) and has been proven to be successful in clinical trials for helping individuals fall asleep and relax better.
The Kokoon Relax Mobile App, has an 8 part audio program (called the “Good Sleep Foundations”) based on CBT techniques. These sessions take you through a series of breathing and meditation exercises to set you up to sleep, switch off your mind and help you focus.
It’s no surprise audio can be a very effective tool in helping you achieve better sleep and relaxation. At Kokoon our ambition is to personalise your audio experience so you can also discover the right audio that helps you get the sleep and relaxation you need. Begin your journey to better sleep today by exploring Kokoon Headphones and the Kokoon Relax Mobile App.