I recently returned from a lovely vacation in Hawaii where our bedroom overlooked the ocean and the sounds of the waves rocked me to sleep every night. This got me wondering why some sounds have a positive physical effect on the body.
In a recent article in the online journal Live Science Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University explained that the sounds of waves soothe our brain with non hostile sounds, “These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people. It’s like they’re saying: ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry.'”
The article goes on to explain that, although the sounds of crashing waves can vary considerably in volume, the waves’ babel smoothly rises and falls in intensity easing the mind and telling it is not in danger. “Non-threatening noises, especially when relatively loud, can drown out those sounds that might otherwise raise red flags in the brain.”
Conversely loud, abrupt noises most of us have likely experienced, like a crying baby at 2 am tend to be harder to sleep through. The jolt of the unnerving sound triggers the brain’s threat-activated system and jerk us awake. “The type of noise defines if you will wake up or not, because noise information is processed by our brain differently,” Buxton said.
Your moment of zen. Reminiscent of our winter holiday here are 12 hours of Soothing Beach Waves to quiet and relax your mind.