Its no secret that getting a good nights sleep is vital to living a happy & healthy existence. The regenerative powers of adequate sleep are considerable yet we often fail to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. There are a variety of factors which impact on our sleep from stimulants, noise, stress, anxiety and insomnia. However many of these can be overcome with the help of non medical sleep aids such as white noise and ocean sounds. Below is a list of 8 relaxing sounds that can help you sleep by the Alaska Sleep Education Center. Many of these can be found online on streaming platforms such as spotify & apple music.


1. Ocean Sounds

Its no secret that ocean and wave sounds are very popular for relaxation & mindfulness however they can also be used as a aid to help block out any external noises and relax the mind and body into a state that is prepared for sleep. According to Dr. Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of behavioral health at Penn State University “These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people, “Buxton explained. “It’s like they’re saying: ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry.’”

Check out some relaxing ocean sounds here



2. White Noise

When sleeping in loud environments or in large cities there is often a lot of sudden noises and sounds such as helicopters, motorbikes etc which may affect the quality of sleep or even wake you up in the middle of the night. White noise is a proven way to help reduce the chance of this happening. It provides a steady even stream of sound which helps to block out or reduce the peak volume of these sounds entering the room.


3. Rain Sounds

Its not only ocean waves that can help you sleep, other water sounds can often create a relaxing atmosphere such as the gentle rhythmic patter of rain or the sound of water rushing over rocks in a small stream. These slight variations in rhythm can often be deeply relaxing and help you fall asleep.


4. Relaxing Music

Music has the ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate so listening to songs with slow rhythms or classical music can help improve sleep quality. According to The National Sleep Foundation songs with 60-80 beats per minute are recommended.


5. Pink Noise

Pink noise is a balance of high and low frequencies that can mimic sounds in nature. There have been some studies that it may help prolong the amount of time spent in deep sleep and also possible improvements in memory recall.


6. Soothing Voices

The sound of the human voice can be very calming and comforting. Children often fall asleep to their parents reading bedtime stories. Guided meditations have the ability to relax the mind also. If this is something that works for you then it may be an idea to look into using guided meditations or audiobooks as a sleep aid.


7. Nature Sounds

According to scientists at Britain’s University of Sussex listening to nature sounds led to more outward focused attention in the brain as opposed to inward focused activity which has been associated with anxiety and stress. Further results indicated that the nervous system moved towards a more relaxed state which can help people fall asleep. So listening to bird sounds, rainforest and general natural ambience can help the body and the mind prepare for sleep.



8. Sounds that relax you

Everybody perceives sound in different ways so its important to pick sounds that you find relaxing. Music & ocean sounds may effect people differently based on their memory, past experiences and preferences so it is important to find what works for you.

photo by Martin Kawaler

It has long been known that ocean sounds can help you sleep and relax. But new research reported in the in the journal Scientific Reports is the first to use actually use behavioural experiments and brain scans to suggest a physiological cause for these effects.

The study investigated the connection between the brain, body and background noise with researchers at Brighton an Sussex medical school using functional magnetic resonance imaging scans to monitor 17 healthy adults as they listened to various soundscapes.

According to lead author Cassandra Gould van Praag PhD a research fellow at the University of Sussex the study’s finding show real world impacts stating that she would “definitely recommend a walk in natural surroundings to anyone, whether they’re currently feeling frazzled or not,”“I really did find the downloaded tracks helpful for those times when I couldn’t get away from my desk,”


Check out the full article here