Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind. Sleep is your body’s chance to take a break and it gives your brain the opportunity to take in new information and strengthen its existing memories. Whilst you sleep, your body’s muscles repair and relax. The quality of your sleep can have a significant impact on your mood, energy levels and concentration levels.
Disturbed sleep or problems with sleep are more common than we might think.
The Sleep Survey carried out in 2012 found that a ‘racing mind’ was the main cause of sleeplessness, whilst 36% of respondents blamed noise for their lack of sleep.
This is where sleep machines and the power of white noise can come in.
A sleep machine is a specially designed unit which emits particular sounds.
The two main benefits of using a sleep machine are to soothe and relax, and to block out other more irritating sounds.
White noise and sound machines were first developed for people with hearing conditions such as tinnitus, which can lead to insomnia. However they’re now regularly used by people who simply have disturbed sleep for a wide range of reasons.
Sound machines deliver a gentle audio in the form of white noise, vibrations, music or even the sounds of nature; all of which can have a positive impact on the quality of sleep.
According to the Medical Director of the Northwest Hospital Sleep Center in Seattle, the brain is constantly craving sensory input. This explains how that creaking floorboard or passing car wakes you up at 3am, the noise activating your brain and keeping you awake.
Providing your brain with a constant source of consistent sound, such as white noise, helps it to tune out and stop searching for sounds.
White noise sounds very much like a hum and is the result of sound waves across different frequencies combining. It sounds just like a fan which has been left on. Research carried out at ICU in America has shown that white noise can help patients sleep through the regular disruptive noises that hospitals are known for.
The other main type of sound machine plays nature sounds. Anything from rainfall to crashing oceans or a rainforest chorus of croaks and rustling leaves, provides a relaxing environment for a peaceful night’s sleep. Many people prefer the calming sounds of nature to white noise.
Sound machines can be found from around £20 upwards and could be the key to getting that full night’s sleep you need.
Very interesting to know that the brain is always craving sensory input. I never realised this, and I think just that realisation will help me when I can't sleep at night.
I get a racing mind at nighttime sometimes and can recommend using a white noise app for Android.
Whilst I'm intrigued by white noise I can't think of anything worse than listening to a frog chorus or tweeting birds!