If you have insomnia or experience difficulty falling asleep, you've probably tried everything from drinking chamomile tea to reading a book before bed. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, sleep just won't come.
That's where calming sounds for sleep can help.
There's plenty of scientific evidence that these sounds can help you fall asleep, making them the perfect way of finally getting some much-needed rest.
In this article, we'll look at why you may wish to use calming sounds for sleep and what conditions might stop you from getting a good night's rest. Then we'll look at the science behind sleep sounds before looking at three types of sounds that help you sleep: white noise, music, and nature sounds. Let's jump right in!
There are all sorts of reasons you might want to use calming sounds for sleep. Perhaps you're struggling with insomnia, and nothing else seems to be working. Maybe you live in a noisy area and find it difficult to block out the sound of traffic or your neighbors. Or it could simply be that you find it hard to switch off at night and need extra help to drift off into a deep sleep.
Whatever your reason, if you're finding it difficult to sleep, then calming sounds for sleep may be the answer. However, if you're struggling with a medical condition like insomnia, it's always best to speak to your doctor first, as there may be an underlying cause that needs to be treated.
All sorts of medical conditions can make it difficult for you to get a good night's sleep. These include:
However, one of the primary causes is insomnia. This condition makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep for long enough to get a good night's rest. If you're struggling with insomnia, using calming sounds for sleep can be a highly effective way of finally getting some much-needed rest.
Before we look at the science behind sleep sounds, let's expand on insomnia. This is a condition that causes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, medications, or physical health conditions.
Almost 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. Insomnia is the most common, with 30% of adults having the condition.
If you're struggling with insomnia, it's essential to see your doctor, as they may be able to prescribe medication or give you advice on how to manage the condition. However, for many people with milder forms of insomnia, calming sounds for sleep can be a highly effective way of finally getting some rest.
Plenty of scientific evidence suggests that using music to sleep is effective. One study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience looked at the effect of different types of slow-wave sleep (SWS) brainwave music. The study found that using the music to sleep may improve sleep quality.
Other studies published by the same journal have looked at the effect of binaural beats on sleep. Binaural beats are sounds that have been specifically designed to alter your brainwave frequencies and induce sleep. The study found that binaural beats may improve sleep quality and allow people to fall asleep quicker.
In terms of nature sounds, a study published in Scientific Reports revealed that playing such sounds can impact the autonomic nervous system, which controls the fight-or-flight and rest/digest response.
In the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) study, participants listened to sounds recorded from natural and artificial environments. Their brain activity and autonomic nervous system were monitored for changes. Scientists discovered that depending on the background noise playing, there were differences in the brain's default mode network (areas that are most active when a person is resting.) This research provides further evidence linking natural sounds and green environments to relaxation and well-being.
Traditional cultures have long understood the links between calming music and sleep. For example, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle believed music profoundly affected the soul and could be used as therapy. In India, Vedic literature also mentions the healing power of music.
Now we're beginning to understand why these traditional practices work. Research suggests music can impact our physiology by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, slowing breathing, and reducing stress hormones. All of these effects are associated with improved sleep.
For just one example, a study from the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that adults who listened to 45 minutes of music to sleep before reported having better sleep quality beginning on the first night. The more often participants incorporated music into their nightly routine, the greater the benefit they received.
As you can see, using sounds and music to sleep is backed by science. But what are the sounds that help you sleep?
White noise is a type of sound that is produced when all of the frequencies in the audible range are combined. This creates a constant background noise that can make white noise for sleeping extremely effective.
There are all sorts of white noise machines that you can buy or download an app onto your phone. Once you've found a sound you like, you need to play the white noise for sleeping as background.
You may wish to consider pink or brown noise alongside white noise for sleeping. Pink noise is similar to white noise but with a lower frequency. This makes it sound less 'hissing' and more like the background noise, you would hear in nature. Brown noise is even lower in frequency than pink and has been described as sounding like rushing water or a waterfall.
Here are ten examples of white noise for sleeping that can be effective:
Fans: A fan running in the background can be extremely calming and help block out other noise.
Machines: Many people find the sound of machines, such as washing machines or vacuum cleaners, very relaxing.
Rain: The sound of rain is one of the most popular sleep sounds as it's so soothing.
Thunderstorms: While thunderstorms can be scary for some people, others find the sound of the rain and thunder very calming.
Fire: The crackling sound of a fire can help to create a feeling of warmth and relaxation.
Heartbeat: A heartbeat can be very calming and is often used in meditation.
Ocean: The sound of the sea is another popular sleep sound as it can create a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Waterfall: The sound of a waterfall is very soothing and can help you to drift off to sleep.
Wind: The wind blowing through the trees can be incredibly peaceful.
Birdsong: The sound of birds singing can be very calming and can help to create a feeling of being outdoors in nature.
Static: Static noise can help to block out other noise and can be unexpectedly relaxing.
As you can see, there are all sorts of different white noise sounds that you can use to help you sleep. Experiment with different sounds until you find one that works for you.
If you prefer calming music to help you sleep, then there are all sorts of different pieces of music that can be effective at helping you to sleep. Again, the key is to find a piece of music that you find relaxing and that helps to block out other noise.
Here are ten pieces of calming music to help you sleep:
"Weightless" by Marconi Union: Marconi Union is a British band that collaborated with sound therapists to create this 8-minute-long piece of music designed to help you relax and fall asleep.
"Dreamer" by Peter Sterling: Peter Sterling is a New Zealand musician specializing in creating relaxing music. This particular track is designed to help you drift off into a deep sleep.
"Slow Dreams" by Guggenz: Guggenz is a German electronic musician who creates dreamy, ambient music. This track is perfect for helping you to relax and drift off to sleep.
"Sleep" by Max Richter: Max Richter is a British composer who created this 8-hour-long piece of music specifically for sleeping. The track is designed to gradually slow down your brainwave activity and help you to drift off into a deep sleep.
"Lullaby for Insomniacs" by Yawning Man: Yawning Man is an American band who creates instrumental, psychedelic rock music. This track is perfect for those who find it difficult to fall asleep due to racing thoughts.
"Aura" by Peder B. Helland: Peder B. Helland is a Norwegian composer who creates beautiful, relaxing music. This track is perfect for helping you to unwind and drift off to sleep.
"Requiem for a Dream" by Clint Mansell: Clint Mansell is a British composer who created this piece of music for the film Requiem for a Dream. While the film is graphic, the music is lovely and calming.
"Bliss" by Michael Andrews: Michael Andrews is an American musician best known for his work on the soundtrack for the film Donnie Darko. This track is a perfect example of his beautiful, ethereal work. It is ideal for helping you to relax and fall asleep.
"Leaving Meaning" by Nine Inch Nails: Nine Inch Nails are an American industrial rock band. This track is from their album Bad Witch and is a perfect example of the dark, ambient sound they are known for.
"Harmony Korine" by Mogwai: Mogwai is a Scottish post-rock band known for their atmospheric, instrumental music. This track is from their album Every Country's Sun and is perfect for helping you to relax and drift off to sleep.
There are all sorts of different pieces of calming music to help you sleep and many more than we've space to mention. However, perhaps you may wish to try nature sounds if you don't find music works.
There are all sorts of different nature sounds that help you sleep. The key is finding the sound that you find most relaxing and helps you block out other noise.
Here are ten nature sounds that can help you sleep:
These calming sounds of nature are among the best to help you fall asleep and are easy to start with. Start today!
If you're not sure where to start with sounds to help you fall asleep, try searching for a sound that you find calming. Once you find a sound you like, listen to it for a few minutes before bed. You may also want to try listening to the sound while lying in bed, ready to sleep. Change what you're listening to and mix and match different sounds until you find your perfect combination.
There are various ways to find sounds to help you fall asleep. Some ideas include:
Using the real things: If you're looking for sleep sounds such as fans or other white noise, try using the real thing. For example, use a fan in your room or leave your radio playing static.
Listening to physical recordings: If you're looking for more specific sounds, such as waves crashing on the shore, you can find many recordings available in physical media or specialist stores. You may even have some CDs with music you'll find relaxing.
Making your own recordings: If you're feeling creative, try recording sounds that you find relaxing. For example, record yourself reading a book or playing soft music.
Find calming sounds for sleep on Spotify: You can find a variety of sleep sounds on Spotify. To find them, search for "sleep sounds" in the app. As with everything on Spotify, these sounds are free. However, be aware that unless you pay for Spotify Premium, the sounds will be interrupted by commercials which could interrupt your rest.
Use an app: There are many different sleep apps available that offer a variety of sounds to help you fall asleep. Many of these apps off free trials or have free sound options, so you can try them out before committing to a purchase.
If you decide to use an app, Pzizz is an excellent option. Pzizz is our app that produces unique, dream-like sounds to help you fall asleep and relax. We call these unique experiences "dreamscapes." Humans create our dreamscapes, but they are algorithmically mixed and optimized to help you sleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed. There are over 100 billion sequences to experience.
You can use any listening time for up to 24 hours and also control the soothing voiceover separately from the music. Our dreamscapes will automatically change each time you use them, meaning that over time we'll learn what sounds you like and don't like. This means we can give you the best sleep experience possible--automagically!
Pzizz is based on proven clinical sleep interventions and psychoacoustic principles. Our app offers you the best chance to fall asleep fast, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.
If you want to try Pzizz, you can download it free on the App Store or Google Play.
There are many different kinds of sounds that help you sleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, try experimenting with different sounds or calming music to help you sleep. Find one that works, make it part of your nightly routine, and listen to it every night as you settle into bed. Soon, you'll be asleep before you know it!
Some popular sounds that help you sleep include white noise, nature sounds, and soft music.
You can listen to sleep sounds for as long as you like. However, we recommend starting a few minutes before bed and increasing the listening time if needed.
Listening to sleep sounds can help you get to sleep faster by providing a calming and relaxing environment. In addition, the sound can help mask any disruptive noises that may keep you awake.