Can Sleep Sounds Help You Fall Asleep Better?

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? It may be time to turn off the phone and turn up the soothing sounds of pure white noise to send you off to dreamland. But do these soothing sounds actually help you fall asleep?

Dr. Ralph Pascualy, the medical director of Northwest Hospital Sleep Center in Seattle, explains that the brain craves sensory input. During sleep a random noise (like the wind outside your window or a creaky roof) may wake you up because your brain is in need of stimulation. However, when you have constant white noise, Dr. Pascualy explains, this gives the brain a tonic signal which dampens its own internal symptoms and allows you to continue sleeping peacefully.

However, not everyone responds to ‘sound’ in the same way. Our sensitivity to noise varies a lot based on the kinds of brain waves we produce while sleeping. This is why some people can sleep through an alarm clock and others will wake up if a pin drops. The sounds we hear at night can either alarm us or relax us, which is why soothing sounds or white noise can help us fall asleep more quickly.

Because not everyone responds to sound in the same way, some sounds may be more beneficial to one person than another. Sometimes the purring of a cat, or sound of the television in the background may give a more positive, relaxing association than other noises would. This is why it’s important to find sounds that work best for you. To do this try sleeping with any of these sounds in the background:

  • White noise machines: White noise machines are special systems that work to mask background noises that wake us up during the middle of the night. They combine all noise frequencies to block out other sounds that may wake you. They produce sounds that sound like rushing water or wind blowing through trees.
  • Natural noises: We’ve all heard the sound of rain or crickets at night. Sometimes these sounds can be soothing to the ears and provide a calming way to drift off to sleep. Here are a few apps that generate beautiful, natural sounds.
  • Music: Some people find that listening to their favorite kind of music can help them relax. Whether you like jazz or soft rock, choosing music to help you relax can give you a better night’s rest.
  • Guided sleep meditation: Sometimes there is nothing more soothing than the human voice. Like yoga serves to relax the body through movement, a soothing voice can have the same effect on the mind. Listen to any of these guided videos for a more restful journey to sleep land.
  • Silence: Occasionally, the best kind of noise is no noise. Some people can sleep better when there is no kind of white noise in the background.
  • Other kinds of white noise: Sometimes, the weirdest things can be soothing to the ear. Fans, running water, radio static, or even people talking can give you ease as you’re about to fall asleep.

Listening to white noise, music, or even a ceiling fan can give you a better night’s rest! Try out different sounds to see which ones work best for you. Pair those peaceful sounds with a comfortable mattress and you’ll be on your way to the best sleep you’ve ever had!

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