Instrumental music gives you good sleep

Google plays nature sounds at bedtime. Soothing instrumental music has the same effect, doctors say

In a bid to make our lives a little more easier, Google is now playing the role of the nanny who tucks you into bed with a little goodnight kiss — well, almost! When you say ‘Okay Google, goodnight’, it asks you what time to put the alarm, reminds you about the next day’s engagements, wishes you ‘Goodnight’ and proceeds to play ‘nature sounds’ for 60 minutes. 

These sounds, predominantly the chirping of crickets, is comforting and automatically relaxes one’s mind, making them fall asleep.

So why does nature-inspired music/sound make us doze off quickly? Metrolife spoke to experts to understand how it impacts one’s sleep. Dr Shantanu Tandon, (ENT) sleep apnea and endoscopic surgeon, senior consultant, Sakra World Hospital, says that though he is not sure about the quality of sleep, nature-inspired music definitely helps one fall asleep. 

Sounds like these drown out surrounding noises and prevent people from using other forms like visual inputs. “I often tell this to people who find it difficult to sleep. Any dull or low amplitude sound can help one fall asleep.”

 What about the consequences of exposing oneself to radiation? “I would definitely not suggest people keep any device close to their ears and sleep, for multiple reasons. But if it is far away and has low amplitude sound, that’s not damaging,” he says.

It is not an entirely foolproof method though. “Nature sounds are soothing to most people but for certain people with traumatic experiences, there can be certain mental triggers due to this sound, though there will not be any psychological impact. Such cases are not very common,” he says. 

Shantanu says that people should not depend on gadgets to fall asleep. “Many fall asleep while watching television or working on a laptop. One should avoid such constant digital inputs and lights from them,” he adds. 

Music has a relaxing effect on our mind

“The sympathetic nervous system is triggered when the body is stressed. As an action-reaction, the parasympathetic nervous system helps the body to de-stress. Music helps decrease the stress level and heart rate and eventually calms one down,” Akanksha 
Pandey, clinical psychologist, Fortis Hospital, explains.  It is a natural human tendency to often visualise what we are listening to.

While listening to nature sounds, our mind tends to think about it and this acts as reclusive thinking (a deviation from the regular train of thoughts). 

“Nature sounds improve both the quality and quantity of sleep. Don’t listen to any lyrical songs while trying to fall asleep. It interferes with our sleep process and can disturb us further. Only instrumental music is recommended,” she suggests.

Other kinds of music that can help one sleep

  • Music that has a continuous intonation to it, like instrumental music — be it western or Indian.
  • Music which doesn’t have many ups and downs.

Will it help insomniacs?

There are various reasons for insomnia. Habits like eating too close to bedtime and odd sleeping hours interfere with one’s manner of falling asleep. Insomniacs can benefit from nature-inspired sounds. Having said that, if insomnia is caused due to neurological or drug-related issues, then it may not be as helpful.

- Dr Shantanu Tandon
  (ENT) sleep apnea and endoscopic surgeon

 

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