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What Is It About The Sound Of Water That Helps Us Sleep?
Relaxing Water Sounds for Sleeping
1. Ocean waves gently flowing across the rocks
2 Raindrops hitting the window.
3. A lively brook
4. Sound of Running water these are the sounds that might help us fall asleep faster and deeper.
How come that so many people are calmed by the sound of Relaxing Water Sounds and use water sound for Sleeping?
To answer this question we must first look at our brain. We are tuned to perceive sounds differently. Some sounds might pose a threat, and others don’t.
This process also goes on when we are sleeping.
Heavy and protruding sounds will wake us up very easily. For example, someone beeping the horn in front of our house, a loud alarm, or a dog barking in the next room.
However, some other sounds more likely won’t disturb our sleep. Such as soft raindrops on the window, wind, or the birds softly singing outside.
This type of noise is not perceived as a threat by our brain. On the opposite, they might help us relax and fall asleep.
This type of research has been conducted by many sleep behavioral scientists and universities.
Among them is Mr. Buxton from the State University of Pennsylvania. He concludes that this type of sound tells us to “relax” and not to worry.
Normally louder noises will wake you up.
But Relaxing Water Sounds will tend to support Sleeping why is that?
This is an important brain function that protects us from different threats. Your morning alarm is not necessarily a threat, but it sure does help to wake up and ensure we are not late for our daily activities.
On the other hand, a smoke alarm or a CO2 alarm might just save your life.
It’s not necessarily the increased volume that will wake you up. While your audio of ocean sounds might increase in volume at some point, it more likely won’t wake you up.
A loud scream or a protruding alarm probably will.
Mr. Buxton explains that calming escalating sounds more likely won’t wake us up, while immediate and high pitched sounds will.
This distinction between different sounds was a part of Buxton’s research in 2012. He determined that immediate and unusual sounds will disturb people, even if they are only around 40 decibels.
So even a lightly beeping alarm, from a piece of medical equipment, disturbed shallow sleep in 90 % of participants and also in 50 % of people who were in deep sleep.
That tells us that the alarming sounds which wake us up are not necessarily loud.
Every day sounds
On the other hand, we get used to certain sounds in our daily lives. We tend to block the sounds of cars, trucks, and maybe even the ambulance passing our house.
Research shows that these sounds most of the time did not wake the participants, while other sounds did, including different alarms, human conversation, and the sound of the ringtone on your phone.
People are wired to respond to immediate, protruding noises. The reason for this is, these noises might pose a threat.
According to Buxton, we have a common ancestor with primates, and as such we have many similar behaviors.
Primates will alert others to food or danger with loud sounds. Also, many tribal people living in the wild might signal for danger with screaming (direct or indirect danger).
A loud noise of a cracking tree in the forest or a car beeping loudly might just save your life.
There is another reason why the sound of water or other relaxing sounds can help us sleep.
Non-threatening noise at a moderate volume can conceal other moderate noises that our brain could perceive as a threat.
These relaxing noises might just help you conceal the noises of a family member who has to wake up early, or cars passing by your window, according to Buxton.
It is not surprising that different water sounds are so popular among people. Nowadays, we can find many relaxing sounds on youtube or in other forms ready to lend or purchase.
Buxton agreed that different apps or videos that can provide you with relaxing sounds can be a great solution.
However, his study with many others also presents a different part of the story.
While your phone can easily play all the relaxing sounds, it can also disturb your sleep cycle, with messages, calls, and alarms. And sometimes can be impossible to turn everything off.
Especially if you are using your mobile data to listen to those relaxing sounds.
He also mentions that some people might have a different response to the sound of water, which is going to the bathroom.
If you find water sounds relaxing and helpful when sleeping, he says you should definitely give it a go.
Whether that might be the sound of the ocean, a tropical forest, or relaxing Water Sounds for Sleeping even a storm.