Can’t Sleep? Sleep better with relaxing sounds
It’s hailed as the holy grail, a dream come true for insomniacs and stressed-out parents, but it’s true, the simple act of leaving a fan whirring softly in the bedroom or listening to relaxing sounds for sleep can help us insomniacs on the road to a healthy night’s slumber.
White noise is fast becoming an accepted way to help the body and brain wind down, to calm the mind’s chatter and allow us to slip into a peaceful and healing kip. Our sleep is often disturbed by daily distractions and the over-stimulation of technology, making the need to sleep better more important than ever, considering it is vital to our health.
Problems With Sleep
Sleep is a luxury for those who suffer from anxiety and anxiety causes us to lose sleep. This vicious cycle is familiar to many of us, and there are those who suffer from sleep disorders that interfere with their health and quality of life, and so it’s important that we all get our full, battery charging eight to nine hours of blissful shut-eye.
If even if we are not one of those poor souls who suffer from a debilitating sleep disorder, life has a way of presenting us with sleep-disturbing events to throw our inner clocks out of whack. An overseas trip and the resulting jet lag, a crying baby, a few late nights, a new job requiring shift work; new noisy neighbours; sirens, illness, and as mentioned, anxiety and stress can make you feel like a zombie who is in dire need of the ability to sleep better.
A big no-no for insomniacs is looking into the bright light of the computer screen just before bed. The blue light emitted by most cell phone screens, computers, tablets, and televisions limit the body’s ability to produce melatonin, which is the hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycle, called the circadian rhythm; it’s our inner programmer, hardwired into our brains and it can be knocked out of kilter by these bright lights at night.
Looking at these lights before bed doesn’t set us up to sleep better but has the opposite effect: the brain becomes alert, and sleep becomes that elusive, longed-for state. To make sure your sleep pattern isn’t disturbed you can always use an app to change the display colour on your device so it represents sunlight for daytime and a warmer colour at night, but natural light at the right time of day or night is always a better option.
Some sufferers of tinnitus–that maddening, constant high-pitched ringing in the ears, often due to industrial deafness–are driven to leaving the radio on low to drown out the ringing noises. It’s often recommended that pink noise, which is part of the white noise spectrum but is of a higher frequency, works for those with tinnitus. There are noises of many different hues, including white noise. There’s pink, brown and violet, for example, and some work better for certain individuals than others who are searching for a way to sleep better.
Sleep Meditation Apps and White Noise
But how easier would it be, rather than leaving the actual fan whirring away, or the radio going, to have an app designed especially for bedtime? An app with relaxing sounds for sleep right on your smartphone or iPhone with the ability to time it so it turns itself off once you’re snoozing peacefully? You can play the sounds of a fan, rain sounds for sleeping, or whichever noise suits your mood or personality to help you drift off to the land of nod and sleep better.
Apps are convenient, and you can make good use of the smartphone or iPhone sitting on the bedside table. You won’t be looking into the screen and alerting your brain, and you won’t need headphones, just turn the volume to the desired level and settle back, letting the sound wash over you while you wait for the sandman.
These relaxing sounds for sleep can mask those distracting, annoying and sleep-depriving noises that make you want to throw your alarm clock at the wall. Sounds such as the aforementioned ringing in the ears, dripping taps, traffic sounds and the intermittent sound of a partner snoring, or even the chattering of people out on the street on a Friday night after the pub has closed. Of course, some people can become accustomed to a partner’s snoring, and to traffic, but some do have great difficulty.
How does white noise work?
We’re not talking about the genuine variety generated by the television set and other electronic devices which are full of a lot of high-frequency energy. In generic terms, it’s any consistent noise that emanates evenly across all audible frequencies, from high to low, like a big band with all members playing a slightly different note all at the same time. Devices such as fans turned on at the highest speed can hit those notes with ease and help us sleep better.
Other examples of white noise are the natural ones such as the sea, waves gently rolling onto the beach, a gurgling creek, the chirp of crickets, a chorus of frogs; rain sounds for sleeping; the wild sounds of the jungle or whales singing across the oceans. There are also ambient sounds like distant crowd noises, the crackling of an open fire; the sounds from the inside of an aircraft and machine noises like washing machines, fans, air conditioners, and aircraft noises that can bring you forty winks.
There are many ways recommended to help us sleep better, as well as listening to white noise, or relaxing sounds for sleep. It’s believed a ritual or routine that helps the brain get into ‘sleep ahead’ mode is a must. It’s suggested we practice a bedtime routine to wind down before climbing into the cot. Apparently, the body likes to know in advance what is going to happen next, and so getting into good sleep hygiene habits, or a pre-sleep routine makes it happy and more amenable to slumber.
Using a meditation app regularly will also help you fix your sleep pattern, although it’s not advised to meditate just prior to hitting the sack. However, a daily routine of meditating earlier in the evening or sometime during the day, using breathing techniques and listening to your own voice with your choice of affirmations and a relaxing backing track, will set you up for a good night’s sleep. Then, when you’re off to bed, listen to your relaxing sounds for sleep and you’ll be off to dreamland in no time.
Then there are power naps that help to get you through the day. Here’s a chance to use your rain sounds for sleeping app to nap, not just to adjust your sleep patterns. If you need a 10-minute ‘nanna nap’ in the afternoon as a refresher, just listen to your relaxing sounds for sleep and time it to stop after 10 minutes. Be aware, though, that if you take short snoozes for longer than 30 minutes you can wake up feeling more tired and it also disturbs your sleep schedule. Naps cannot replace a good night’s sleep.
Tips for Better Sleep
Other tips to sleep better include regular exercise, though perhaps best done in the morning rather than in the early evening or at night, since it can rev you up too much and prevent you from falling to sleep later. Stretching and yoga practice helps, as does doing your best to adhere to your ritual or routine. Sleep experts recommend letting sunlight fall on your closed eyes in the morning (not looking into the sun, of course, as it can damage your eyes) to help to set the circadian rhythm to ‘awake’ mode. On the other hand, keep the lights low at night and sleep in a darkened bedroom. This sets the circadian rhythm to ‘sleep’ mode.
There are some old wives tales about not eating meat before bedtime, and avoiding cheese, but most experts agree that any food or beverage consumed in excess before bed can interfere with our sleep. It’s advisable to eat well through the day but eat a light meal in the evening at least two to three hours before retiring. To sleep better it’s best not to drink coffee or alcohol before bedtime because the caffeine stimulates the brain and while the alcohol relaxes it, it doesn’t allow quality sleep.
Make sure you are comfortable in bed, with a warm doona or blankets, and some of us love to hug a hot water bottle on cold nights. Some people like to keep a window even slightly open for fresh air. And if you haven’t fallen to sleep in fifteen minutes, get out of bed and do something that relaxes you, turn your relaxing sounds for sleep back on, for instance. The main thing is not to let it bother you. Tell yourself it doesn’t matter if you don’t sleep because trying desperately to get to sleep, and the associated self-talk, i.e. telling yourself you can’t sleep, only makes you more anxious and so your brain will believe you and stay awake.
For students, it is difficult or almost impossible to stick to a consistent sleep schedule, especially if you live on campus at a university or college. There’s the studying, the excitement, and the parties; the stress of exams and the late night chats with friends that make sleeping erratic and can affect your health.
A good idea to help students to sleep better is to use the relaxing sounds for sleep or the rain sounds for sleeping apps, and remember, it’s best not to use your bed for studying or going onto Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. Using your bed just for sleeping can trick your brain into thinking, ‘bed equals sleep, ok’ and the added advantages of using the apps to sleep better will help you get the hard work done so that you graduate with top marks and your health intact.