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There are some people who prefer sleeping in absolute quiet. Any little noise will keep them from falling asleep. Others prefer to have some sort of white noise in the background – perhaps a fan? There are those who don’t fit in either category, preferring instead to have music or some sounds playing. Regardless of where you fall on this list, some sounds might help you get your best night’s sleep.
Imagine lying in bed at night, listening to the sound of absolutely nothing. Sure, it sounds peaceful in theory, but what about all of thoughts that start to pop up? What about the constant barrage of random thoughts that make it difficult to go to sleep? There are many different ways sounds can impact how you sleep.
What are Binaural Beats?
Believe it or not, your brain strives for harmony in all aspects of your life. When it comes to binaural beats, your brain actually becomes a little creative in an attempt to keep things balanced.
If you listen to two tones, each at a different frequency and each in a different ear, your brain creates an additional tone you can hear. This third tone is called a binaural beat. You hear it at the frequency difference between the two tones.
When binaural beats are sustained over a period of time, they can synchronize with your brain waves. As a result, binaural beats can alter your brain wave activity. This can mean anything from helping you to relax to falling asleep faster. There are five different levels of brain wave activity that the sound of binaural beats can impact:
- Gamma (γ) pattern: Gamma waves are the highest frequency of brain activity and is associated with alertness, concentration, and problem solving. A small study found that people listening to binaural beats at gamma frequencies of 40 Hz experienced improved memory, cognition, and even mood.
- Beta (β) pattern: Beta waves range between 13 Hz and 30 Hz. These waves in the brain are linked to an active and alert mind. Higher levels of beta waves are also associated with anxiety. Listening to binaural beats in the beta wave pattern has been shown to improve mood and task performance. Other research has shown that listening to binaural beats at 15 Hz improves memory and accuracy.
- Alpha (α) pattern: Ranging between 8 Hz and 13 Hz, alpha waves indicate a relaxed and restful mind. Research shows that binaural beat stimulation in the alpha range can increase creativity in some listeners.
- Theta (θ) pattern: During stage one of sleep, which is the lightest stage of sleep, your brain produces theta waves at a frequency between 4 Hz and 8 Hz. Theta waves are also associated with drowsiness and meditation. Studies show that listening to binaural beats at a 6 Hz frequency can induce a meditative state.
- Delta (δ) pattern: The slowest brain waves are delta waves. These waves have a frequency between 0.5 Hz and 4 Hz. As you transition into deeper sleep stages, your brain switches from theta waves to delta waves. Dreaming can occur. Listening to binaural beats at delta frequencies can help you sleep.
If you decide to use binaural beats in hopes of improving sleep, there are numerous binaural beat tracks available online. You can also purchase CDs or audio files featuring binaural beats. Oftentimes, these tracks have white noise or other gentle sounds to help you relax. Choose tracks designed for sleep, which are typically beats at theta or delta frequencies.
What is ASMR?
Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, has become wildly popular over the past decade. Basically, ASMR is the sensation you feel when listening to different sounds. Your body reacts differently to certain, everyday sounds – some good, some not so good.
Ideally, the thought behind ASMR is to relax you enough so that you can fall asleep. These sounds for sleep can include:
- The sound of brushing: Different sized paint brushes moving back and forth on a microphone for 30 minutes or more.
- The sounds of getting a haircut: All the things you hear when getting a haircut, including washing, cutting, spraying, brushing, etc.
- The sounds of tapping: Things such as fingernails tapping on the microphone.
- The sounds of crinkling things: A piece of paper being crushed slowly, or tin foil.
It might sound silly at first, but there is a growing consensus that this is a real thing. Everyone experiences ASMR differently.
While people use ASMR to relax, most people use it specifically to help them fall asleep. Multiple studies have shown that when people with ASMR watch a video, it helps them relax, relieves their stress, and makes it easier for them to fall asleep.
Can Sounds Help You Fall Asleep Faster?
The impact of sounds on your sleep varies depending on your preference. That being said, if you are someone who has trouble falling asleep, finding some sounds for sleep might not be a bad idea. Think about using a binaural beats app on your tablet and play it on your Bluetooth speaker. Or find a good ASMR video on YouTube and do the same thing.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re doing it the right way – with a solid sleep foundation. Having a good mattress and pillow designed for you can mean all the difference in getting a great night’s sleep. Drop by any Mattress Warehouse location today and speak to one of our sleep experts about how you can get your best night’s sleep.