The quality of our sleep can have a major impact on our well-being. Sleep plays a key role in repairing and regenerating the body, as well as helping to process emotions, consolidate learned information, and to restore healthy thinking patterns. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night in order to function properly the next day. However, it is not always easy for us to get enough restful sleep. Stressful life events, bright light exposure, noise from other rooms or outside traffic, as well as our own nervousness can all play a part in keeping us awake throughout the night. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can help yourself get more restful sleep including listening to relaxing music or sounds. Even though everyone’s personal preference will vary when it comes to how much soft music they like in their environment at night, many people report that these two strategies help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
How nature sounds and music can help you to sleep
Research has found that listening to nature sounds and music can help you sleep better. Nature sounds can also be helpful in managing stress. Such as, the sounds of rain or a gentle breeze can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, both nature sounds and relaxing music have been found to induce relaxation by slowing our breathing and reducing the levels of the neurotransmitter cortisol in our brain. This decreases our chances of experiencing anxiety-related events such as insomnia or flashbacks. Many people find that listening to relaxing music or sounds at night helps them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. One study suggests that exposure to calming music prior to bedtime could increase sleep duration by 30 minutes over a week’s time period. They found a significant difference between participants who listened to waterfalls, ocean waves, and birds songs versus those who listened to silence during their night sleep routine.
The sound of nature, such as the sound of waves crashing and leaves rustling, is often a calming and soothing sound for many people. There are several ways that you can bring the sounds of nature into your bedroom to help you go to sleep. One way is to use a white noise machine or humidifier. Using either device creates a soothing background noise that helps mask other noises in your room that might keep you awake at night. However, many people prefer to combine these machines with relaxing music from a radio or MP3 player. As an alternative, many people enjoy listening to music with a relaxing tempo that helps them unwind after work or school. The slow pace of the music combined with soft sounds like rain or ocean waves can put you at ease and help you drift off to sleep more easily without feeling stressed out by your surroundings. You can also put Spotify streams or YouTube videos about nature sounds. Not as real but still effective and so simple! The channel below is a good example.
Extra tips: Avoid scented candles and other light sources at night!
What many don’t know, is that scents can have an impact on our sleep. Certain scents might make it harder for us to fall asleep and stay asleep. For example, scented candles might make the bedroom too warm for comfort. Other scents such as lavender, vanilla, or citrus could disrupt sleep by activating our senses and making it harder to relax. In order to avoid having light from a phone, television, or candle disturb your sleep, try shutting off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime. Here are some other things you can do to help yourself get more restful sleep:
- Set a regular bedtime routine that includes winding down before bedtime.
- Take a hot bath or shower at least half an hour before bedtime
- Engage in relaxing activities such as reading, meditating, stretching and yoga during the day
- Practice deep breathing while focusing on your body’s physical sensations
- Avoid alcohol consumption a few hours before bedtime
With the right combination of nature sounds, music and aromatherapy, you can get your mind off of the various worries and stressors that are keeping you up at night. In addition to helping you drift off to sleep, these techniques have been proven to have a number of health benefits, including improving your immune system and lowering the risk of heart attack. Ready for some sweet dreams?