When you find sleep difficult, whether trying to get there – or after waking during the night, it can cause havoc with your next day. I’ve written about this a number of times, here’s one popular example, but for those of you perhaps less inclined with previous posts, this week’s guest author, Sarah, might have just the thing!
When you are tossing and turning, night after night, getting some sleep is all you can think about. Losing sleep can affect your day to day life and your health and a continuous lack of sleep will only make things worse. If you are having trouble getting to sleep, maybe it’s time to try adding a little sound to lull you to sleep.
Sounds and Sleep
While you are asleep, your brain is still active – albeit not as much as it is when you are awake. When you are sleeping, your brain will still register sounds on a basic level. These noises can end up jostling you awake, shift or move during your sleep, or even cause your heart and/or blood pressure to rise.
These little moments can happen so quickly, you may not notice them or remember them in the morning. However, for some individuals, these moments of disruption can cause them to wake fully and contribute further to the lack of sleep. According to Popular Science, it’s not these little sounds that actually wake you up, it’s the sudden disruption or inconsistencies that are triggered in your brain that wakes you.
Yet, having some noise can allow your brain to relax and unwind. In this case, many people use what is referred to as white noise.
What is White Noise?
White noise assists in sleep by providing just enough peaceful sound to block out most environmental sounds; providing a difference in these normal sounds and what is called a ‘peak’ sound (such as a door slam or dog barking). When you add white noise to your bedroom, you will be less likely to become disturbed as you sleep by any ‘peak’ sounds.
Those who have trouble getting to sleep can benefit from adding white noise to their bedroom. When you create the constant ambience of sound provided by white noise, it can help to block out noises from outside and inside the home. Even if the white noise does not fully block out external sounds, white noise does assist in masking the sounds that can potentially disturb your sleep.
White noise can be achieved by turning on a fan or the air conditioner, using a white noise machine, or even an air purifier. When you want to start using white noise, you may need to experiment with the volume to find out which volume level will work best for you.
How can sound help me sleep?
The hypnotic effect of specific sounds can help you fall asleep. This includes the lull of white noise, sounds from nature such as waves, or even the steady cadence of a calm and soft voice. Hearing consistent and calming sounds can allow your brain to relax while at the same time blocking out external noises so you can focus on falling asleep.
If white noise is not for you, you can think outside the box and try sleeping with what is known as the ‘Sleep with Me Podcast‘. This podcast is specifically designed to aid in sleep and market their podcast as ‘Story-time for Adults’. Hearing the calm and soothing cadence of a voice telling a simple and calm story is just what some people need to get to sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, at least 74% of American adults need a quiet room in order to sleep. While using a white noise machine or adding white noise to your bedroom, sometimes this step is not enough.
If you are super sensitive to sounds and are a part of the 74% that need a quiet room to sleep, you may want to consider another option. You can try sleeping with a pair of noise cancelling headphones so you can block out sound entirely.
No matter what, if you are struggling to fall asleep, you should consider adding in some ambient white noise; listening in to some adult story time with Sleep with Me Podcast; or even try blocking out sound completely with noise cancelling headphones. These methods are all recommended in aiding with sleep and if you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, it’s time to make a change. Do you have trouble sleeping and have tried one of these methods? If so, let us know how these methods have benefited you and your sleep.
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).