“Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, my dear baby.” These are some of the words sung to one of the world’s most famous bedtime melodies, Brahms’ “Lullaby.” The nightly ritual of singing infants to sleep has been around for thousands of years and spans many cultures. But just because you’re all grown up doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from a soothing, tranquil sound to help you drift off to sleep.
In fact, research has shown that thunder, wind, and other nature sounds have a profound impact on health and well-being. The study, which spanned 11 different countries, revealed that specific noises were associated with less stress and improved health outcomes. For example, water sounds, such as a babbling brook, tended to be the most effective at improving mood and outlook, while birdsong was best for reducing stress.
A smartphone app or sound machine might be just what you need to help you relax at night or block outside noises that interfere with your sleep. Here are some of the most popular and effective sounds for sleep as recommended by the experts at the National Sleep Foundation.
Music has been helping people nod off for ages. Consider curating a playlist of the music you find most relaxing to use at night or when you’re feeling stressed. Classical piano, jazz music, and serene meditation songs are particularly calming.
White Noise or Pink Noise
White noise is an ambient sound combining all of the different frequencies of sound playing simultaneously. To the human ear, it sounds like whirring or television static. On the other hand, pink noise is a type of white noise that favors low-frequency sounds. Examples of pink noise include ocean waves and rustling leaves. These and other sonic hues can easily be found through smartphone apps or online sound generators.
As described in the study above, the sounds of nature have a positive influence on stress levels and relaxation. Most sound machines come preloaded with various soundscapes like frogs, chirping birds, and rainfall.