Can Music, Binaural Beats, Pink Noise, or Nature Sounds Help Me Sleep?

Do you have trouble sleeping and often hear people talking about sleep music, such as binaural beats or nature sounds, and how it’s helped them sleep? Do you find it difficult to leave your stressful day behind, out of your mind, and fall into a blissful slumber? You’re not alone, as an inability to fall asleep happens to many of us. It could be too much caffeine during the work day, or work stress in general. Or, it could be sleep’s old nemesis – insomnia. Whatever the reason for it, lack of sleep is a big issue that will cause health problems. And if you have to wake up and go to work the next day, you’ll be frustrated doing so after not getting enough sleep.

Not getting the sleep your body needs can have disastrous consequences in the long run. Sleep deprivation can cause long-term mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. It can also be a factor that increases your risk of health issues like obesity and heart disease.

Thankfully, there’s a simple way to boost your sleep hygiene.

There are binaural beats that aid you in sleeping. Peaceful sleep music is another alternative to help you combat the lack of sleep. Some of us may prefer sleep apps with nature sounds like waterfalls, rain, and ocean waves. In addition, there’s colorful pink noise to harmonize your circadian rhythm.

If sleep music doesn’t work on its own, you can even find sleep hypnosis videos on YouTube that pair a calming voice with sleep music, guiding you into a deep sleep.

All of these options could help you wind down and unplug from a busy day, helping you achieve a good night’s sleep. There’s no one-size-fits-all, so what works for you may not work for someone else.

Some people might feel lulled to sleep with the sounds of thunderstorms and rain, while others prefer binaural beats. It ultimately boils down to personal preference. However, you can still experiment with various sleep sounds to see what suits you:


Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are fundamentally a phenomenon created by your brain. If you listen to two different tones in each ear, your brain will perceive an additional tone. This additional tone is known as a binaural beat.

For example, if you listen to a tone at 263 hertz (Hz) and another at 270 Hz, the binaural beat you’ll hear will be at 7 Hz (the difference between the two frequencies). When this beat is sustained over time, it will synchronize with your brain and alter your brain wave activity.

To put it simply, binaural beats can induce a brainwave state. Sleep happens when your brainwave state moves from beta to theta and then to delta. In a study using binaural beats, a frequency of 3 Hz induced delta activity in the brain. As a result, it helped participants sleep better and also lengthened deep sleep.

In another study, soccer players listened to binaural beats and reported improved sleep and increased ease upon waking up.

If you’ve decided to use binaural beats for sleeping better, there are numerous tracks available online for free. You can also purchase audio files and programs featuring binaural beats.

Sleep Music

Music is an art form and a simple way to improve your sleep quality. It makes you feel relaxed, which is the number one requirement for a good sleep. Parents have known for ages that lullabies help babies fall asleep. Science supports this fact as a study by Frontiers in Psychology shows that music enhances sleep by regulating hormones, especially the stress hormone cortisol.

In another study, adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before sleep had a better sleep quality. What’s more, participants reported deeper sleep cycles as they continued this routine.

Music triggers dopamine release, a hormone connected to pleasure. This release boosts good feelings, which are instrumental in creating a sleep-inducing environment.

What kind of music would yield the best results depends on your music preference. However, a good yardstick is to stick to slow, peaceful music as it induces relaxation faster. Other than that, just go with what clicks.

Nature Sounds

Do you feel clear-headed when you listen to the water flowing downstream, waves crashing or birds chirping in the distance?

If yes, sounds from nature may have a restorative effect on your psyche. These relax you because they have a pleasant pitch and your brain interprets them as non-threatening. This reduces your fight-or-flight response and lowers your level of stress.

These sounds also mask background noises that keep you awake, like traffic or kids playing in the apartment over you. Natural sounds have been known for their relaxing effect for hundreds of years. However, science is now catching up with undeniable proof that these work.

A study published in Scientific Reports used brain scans and heart-rate monitors to verify the impact of sound on relaxation. MRI scans and heart rates of 17 healthy adults, who listened to five-minute recordings of natural and manmade environments, showed that nature sounds decreased fight-or-flight feelings and increased relaxation.

You can easily find a wide range of natural sounds on YouTube or Spotify. Once you figure out what type of sounds relax you the most, try creating a playlist for easy access.


Pink Noise

Much like natural sounds, pink noise is a constant pitch in the background. It filters sounds that distract you. This is the reason why many people also call it ‘ambient noise’. Rather than being a proper sound, it’s more like a steady hum with a lower sound wave. Therefore, it’s gentle and soothing.

Pink noise works by reducing the difference between a background hum and a loud noise. It filters any extra noise and helps you fall asleep faster and longer.

One study found that pink noise lowered brain activity. Another found that people who use it regularly sleep more deeply. Although more research on pink noise and sleep is required, we recommend you try it and see for yourself.

It’s easily available on YouTube and via smartphone apps. Another option is finding it online or purchasing a pink noise generator. Also, try using different tracks and volumes to find the perfect fit for you.

Getting the Most Out of These Sounds

All of these sounds help you nod off faster and enjoy a deeper sleep. However, they won’t do much good if you have poor sleep habits. You need to adjust your sleep schedule before you can think about utilizing binaural beats or any of these sounds.

For that, ensure you go to bed at an opportune time and limit your caffeine intake. Once that’s taken care of, plugin comfortable headphones and doze off with these sleep-inducing sounds.

If falling asleep or staying asleep is a major issue for you, it could be genetic. Find out through DNA testing what your genetic sleep traits are.

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