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SOOTHING SOUNDS: HEARING SHEEP

Follow these five tips to help you get a sound night’s sleep, using sound. But, there are no quick fixes when it comes to insomnia – so give these ideas a try over a few weeks.

1. MUSIC

Lullabies aren’t just for babies – they’re great for all ages. When choosing songs to help you slumber, choose those that have a slow rhythym – 60 to 80 beats-per-minute (BPM). You can use a stopwatch to find a song with 60 BPM or more, by counting a beat for every second or below. Alternatively, you can enter the song title/artist into www.songbpm.com to find out or, if you like the sound of Spotify, you can access collections of songs to snooze to. www.spotify.com

2. WHITE NOISE

Making good use of incidental noise works a treat for some people. Find a sound that combines all noise frequencies to create a steady background hum to drown out other sounds. You can get ‘white noise’ soundtracks to play, or simply plug in a fan and fall asleep listening to its whirr.

 

3. AS NATURE INTENDED

The crash of ocean waves, the babbling of brooks, the pitter-patter of rain on rooftops – immersing yourself in these watery sounds can help you fall asleep and stay in la-la land. So, why does the sound of flowing water have such a powerful and popular drowsing effect?

Part of the answer lies in how our brains interpret the noises we hear — both while awake and in the dead of night — as either threats or non-threats.

Think of a shrill scream or an alarm – it literally grabs our attention, whereas the lapping of waves ashore, we can tune out as they are predictable, rhythmic and non-threatening. Scientists have even hypothesised that loud shrieks remind us of when we lived in troops as primates, warning of impending attack or threat.

4. SPOKEN WORD

Not all aural stimulation needs to be music based; spoken word is a soothing alternative that works for many. Whether you like your brain to be engaged by listening to a TedTalk on YouTube, a ‘Book Before Bedtime’ on BBC Radio 4 or, believe it or not, some people find comedy sends them into a restful sleep – you may even sleep with a smile on your face.

5. MIND MEMORIES

We asked one of our readers how they get to sleep. “I sleep best when I’ve been to one of your Get Togethers” he explained, “not just because I’ve been out and about, but also because I replay the sights and sounds in my head, which helps me drift off.” So if you fancy reliving live music in your head at night, why not join us at the monthly Union Chapel or Hargrave Hall music events.

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