The Theory of Sleep and Sound – White Noise
There is much literature available about the disruptive effects of sound on sleep and about the benefits of sleeping music and sound. There is even more information on how WHITE NOISE can help humans to sleep. This is probably because so many people are trying to sell white noise machines!
So we will first take a brief look at white nose and them point you to another article on this site that deals thoroughly with that subject.
In essence, white noise is a gently background hiss that tends to mask other noises and make them less noticeable and less intrusive. Thus, that wailing cat or creaky roof or noisy neighbor is less likely to cause you loss of sleep.
There are strong medical and scientific papers on using white noise to help sleep. Use this link to download a paper from the Hawaii Medical Journal, and here’s an extract that explains the essence of it:-
“Increasing scientific evidence point to a non-pharmacological complementary treatment for insomnia: white noise. Its presentation has been shown to induce sleep in human neonates and adults, probably by reducing the signal-to-noise ratio of ambient sound. White noise may be a simple, safe, cost-effective alternative to hypnotic medication in many psychiatric disorders, especially acute stress disorder and PTSD.”
Hawaii Medical Journal, Vol 61, September 2002
The Theory of Sleep and Sound – Sleep Recordings
Sleep Recordings are a subset of Sound Therapy. Here’s a definition of Sound Therapy:-
The use of sound as a therapeutic modality, which is linked to the release of hormones and other factors, including the so-called harmonic factor. Sound therapy is said to affect physiologic parameters, including breathing and heart rate, blood pressure and neuromuscular tone, and is allegedly useful in Alzheimer’s disease, hospice environments for the terminally ill, childbirth, dentistry and psychotherapy. Some sound therapists use handheld devices to apply sounds directly to the body surface, a practice of questionable efficacy.
So we can readily understand that sound impacts on our physical being and potentially has the ability to change our hormonal balance, reduce our stress levels and generally promote a healthier body and mind. This is hardly surprising because we do know through such things as the placebo effect that the mind directly influences the body, and of course, sound affects the mind.
An Ancient Heritage
Sound therapy is not new. Many of us have wondered at the beauty of the sounds from ‘singing bowls’ from Tibet, and felt sleepy and relaxed at the gentle shushing sound of the sea. In 2005 the New York Times did an article on this subject from which I shall quote here:
“For decades people have relaxed and meditated to soothing sounds, including recordings of waves lapping, desktop waterfalls and wind chimes. Lately a new kind of sound therapy, often called sound healing, has begun to attract a following. Also known as vibrational medicine, the practice employs the vibrations of the human voice as well as objects that resonate — tuning forks, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls — to go beyond relaxation and stimulate healing. “It’s like meditation was 20 years ago and yoga was 10 to 15 years ago,” said Amrita Cottrell, the founder and director of the Healing Music Organization in Santa Cruz, Calif.” New York Times
This article was about pain relief using sound therapy, and showed some success without claiming any solid scientific basis except for the placebo effect. It seems very reasonable to assume that if sound can affect the body so profoundly, then it can also help us in our battle with insomnia – but is this true?
In the next part of this article, we proceed to look at the scientific evidence, such as there is, and then proceed to look at an insomnia treatment I have been using with great success – based on specially designed sounds combined with learning.
Please click to page 2 on link below
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