[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]W[/su_dropcap]hether you realize it or not, your brain continues to process sound while you sleep. The stage of sleep governs how sensitive the body is to sound. You are the most sensitive to sound during the early hours of sleep, stages 1 and 2. However, sound can still cause a disruption in your slumber during stages 3 and 4. Disruptions of deep sleep cause the body to toss and turn. While you sleep, the brain is highly perceptive to sound. So why do specialists recommend sound machines to aid with sleep?
The answer is counterintuitive. Producing more sound to a room helps blend outside noise from the road, loud neighbors, or other distractions into one background noise. Certain sounds, such as white noise or the sound of rain, are referred to as “background” sounds. These notes facilitate a relaxed mind and peaceful sleep; they do not alert or wake a person as “peak” sounds do (ie. such as a slamming door or a crying child).
“Peak” sounds are different for everyone. Whether a noise wakes you depends on the personal significance behind the noise. Sounds that are emotionally charged or stimulate a response, regardless of their volume, alert the brain and cause the individual to wake. For example, the sound of a stirring child will typically wake a new mother, but the sound of her partner snoring will not.
Although “peak” sounds vary, background noise is considered universal and is used to create better sleeping environments, which are crucial to a good night’s rest. Your sleeping environment is anywhere you try to sleep—in most cases it is your bedroom. To create a beneficial sleeping environment, it’s important to dim or turn off the lights, lower the temperature, and get rid of loud, disruptive noises.
Listening to constant background tones can mask activity from inside and outside the room, prohibiting distracting sounds that can cause alertness. There are four specific sounds that have been proven to aid sleep: white noise, nature sounds, machinery sounds, and ambient soundscapes. Click below to see which sound appeals to you.
Using sound machines, apps, or simply turning on soundscapes from YouTube before bed can create a relaxed sleeping environment and allow for uninterrupted sleep. With the use of these tools, you will become less susceptible to “peak” sounds, as research suggests sound sleepers have certain brain wave activity that better protect against sound sensitivity.
So when you turn down, turn on the sound.
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