January 13, 2019

How Sound Impacts Your Sleep


If you’ve ever spent the night in a busy hotel, fighting to get to sleep amidst the woosh of traffic, bang of slamming doors, and cheers of partygoers, you already know that sound can have a deep impact on your sleep. Or maybe you just have a partner who snores—loudly—and you struggle to stay in the same room as you desperately try to catch some Zs.

A study published in PubMed showed that auditory processing continues even during sleep. By manipulating what sound stimulus someone was hearing during sleep, they could manipulate the stage of sleep—from wakefulness to deep sleep.

Another study looked at environmental noise and its impact on sleep. It found that even low-volume noises had an effect on sleep, and it didn’t matter the type of disturbance or where you were sleeping. Science confirms it: what you hear affects how you slumber.

Using Sound for Positive Impacts

Okay, we know about the snoring and the loud traffic having a negative effect on sleep, but the reverse can also be true! There’s a reason why yoga studios play those calming chants and spas play birds chirping to the tunes of a pan flute. If sound can influence sleep patterns, why not harness the right kind of sound to promote restful, relaxing sleep?

Enter Zenfully. Our last blog covered what binaural beats are and why you might want to use them, but as a refresher: your brain will create a third frequency of sound when presented with two different tones (one in each ear). That frequency is the difference between the first and second tone being played. This third frequency helps put your brain into one of five main brain states, and the Delta wave state is associated with deep sleep and relaxation.

By helping your brain enter this state, you are influencing a state of calm, restful slumber. Zenfully has preset options for this so you can just choose and snooze, or you can customize it to the exact frequency you’re after. Either way, a deep Delta wave is far more relaxing than the constant “woo hoo!” of your next-door party guest.

Even if you’re not using binaural beats, make an intentional effort to control the sounds you’ll hear when asleep. This may mean minimizing noise with soundproofing, or overriding negative sounds with positive ones, like streaming relaxing music when you go to bed.

How Delta Waves Help Sleep

Well, actually, Delta waves don’t just help sleep, they are sleep. Delta waves are what your brain emits when it’s in its deepest phase of sleep.

So, when you play binaural beats that have a frequency difference of 0.1-4.0 Hz, you’re actually helping your brain to create the waves it needs to fully relax—the waves it will naturally create when you’re in deep sleep. If you usually take a long time to settle in to sleep or don’t spend a lot of time in the deepest phase of sleep, using binaural beats to help you get (and stay) in Delta waves may be beneficial.

In addition, strategically using binaural beats to override any environmental noise may stop those rude distractions from disturbing you in the middle of the night. We all know how much better we feel when we’ve had a good night’s rest, so make great sleep a lasting habit.

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Use of Zenfully is not intended as a substitute for professional medical device, nor does Zenfully diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always consult a doctor before starting any new program.