Calming and soothing sounds have long been used to help babies and toddlers settle at bedtime and ease them into their sleeping routine. In today’s high-paced society and people’s constant use of smart phones in particular, making it harder for people to switch off, adults too are turning to calming sounds to help them with their sleep patterns.
There are many sounds that will help us drift off to sleep but the most effective sound will vary depending on the individual. Whether its rain sounds, white noise fans or waves lapping on the shore, everyone will have a particular sound that will work for them.
Here we look at our Top 7 favourite sounds to send you and your loved ones off to sleep.
1. WHITE NOISE FANS
A sleep favourite for many, White Noise is a random signal having equal intensity at different frequencies. The sound can come from a fan or air humidifier or even a washing machine. The sound is persistent in nature and the brain will zone out, distracting the listener which clears the mind ready for sleep.
There is also ‘pink noise’ which is very popular too. Pink Noise is a mix of both high and low frequencies which sounds more balanced than white noise. Studies have also shown that pink noise can also help strengthen your memory.
2. RAIN & STORM SOUNDS
Who doesn’t like lying in bed when there is a raging storm outside?
Rain sounds simply help us relax and fall asleep faster. The brain identifies the rain sounds as a ‘non-threat’ so allows the listener to relax quicker.
The comfort of being tucked up in bed with the storm and rain happening outside make this a firm favourite as a sleep aid.
3. WOMB HEARTBEATS
An increasing popular choice for mothers of new born babies and toddlers, the comforting sounds of the womb, with a regular heartbeat is one of the sounds they can already identify with. The comfort and sense of security the sound will give your loved ones makes this an obvious choice.
4. NATURE SOUNDS
One of the best ways to help you sleep is to go back to nature. Whether it’s the sounds of a babbling river, forest sounds or streams flowing gently over rocks, they will all help promote relaxation and ultimately sleep. The natural sounds will be familiar to most making it a great choice to help you drift off.
5. WAVE SOUNDS
There aren’t many sounds as relaxing as waves lapping up against the beach. The sound is hypnotic and repetitive and for adults evokes vacation memories which (hopefully!) is calming in itself. For babies the sounds will quickly put them at ease and send them off to sleep.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. As a result, it can trigger a feeling of relaxation before bedtime, which can help you overcome insomnia and promote sleep. Commonly the sounds are recorded in close proximity to the microphone and are best listened to on headphones.
Examples of ASMR include:
Listening to a softly spoken or whispering voice
Watching somebody attentively execute a mundane task such as brushing hair food or wrapping a present
Loudly chewing, crunching or eating food
Listening to tapping, typically nails onto surfaces such as plastic, wood etc.
7. FIRE SOUNDS
A favourite amongst adults is the sound of fire. Whether you are sat snuggly under a blanket in front of the hearth or on beach lying beside a fire-pit the repetitive sounds will warm the soul in preparation for sleep. All with the added bonus that you know you do not have to get up and put another log on the fire to keep it going!
TIP: For these sounds to most effective (for sleep) do not use all day long. Only use them at times when your baby or you need to sleep. Once you find the sound that works for you, the brain will associate that sound as a trigger to help you sleep.
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