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White noise as sleep aid may do more harm than good, say scientists

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/oct/18/white-noise-as-sleep-aid-may-do-more-harm-than-good-say-scientists

theguardian.com

White noise as sleep aid may do more harm than good, say scientists
Review finds quality of evidence is poor and noise may lead to more disrupted sleep

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White noise

White noise

White noise is the sound of all the frequencies that humans can hear and is at the same intensity, such as a fan or crashing waves.

Around the globe, millions of people are downloading white noise apps in the hope of getting better sleep at night. However, research suggests that they don't work and that they even may make things worse.

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Theories around white noise

One theory is that white noise helps to drown out other bothersome sounds. Another is that listening to the same sound each night may help people to associate it with falling asleep.

Studies show that although there is evidence that people fall asleep sooner, the quality of the evidence was poor. There is also a concern of potential ill-effects of not allowing the auditory system to switch off overnight, although this has not yet been tested.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;

Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.

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Seeking silence

As our internal and external environments become louder and louder, more people are beginning to seek out silence, whether through a practice of sitting quietly for 10 minutes every morning or head...

Silence relieves tension

Noise pollution may lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks, as well as impairing hearing and overall health. Loud noises raise stress levels by activating the brain’s amygdala and causing the release of the stress hormone cortisol, according to research.

Silence has the opposite effect, releasing tension in the brain and body.

Silence and our mental resources

The constant attentional demands of modern life put a significant burden on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in high-order thinking, decision-making and problem-solving.

When we can finally get away from these sonic disruptions, our brains’ attention centers have the opportunity to restore themselves.

Foods that affect your sleep

Foods that affect your sleep

Researchers found that eating a diet high in sugar, saturated fat, and processed carbohydrates can negatively affect your sleep.

Foods rich in unsaturated fat, such as nuts...

The relationship between diet and sleep

Researchers found that eating more saturated fat and less fibre from foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains led to reductions in slow-wave sleep - the deep restorative kind of sleep.

People who consume a high-carbohydrate diet fall asleep much faster at night, but the quality of carbs matters. People who eat simple carbs and sugar tend to wake up more frequently throughout the night while eating complex carbs that contain fibre may help you obtain more deep, restorative sleep. This is because complex carbohydrates provide a more stable blood sugar level.

Diet and sleep affect each other

As people lose sleep, they may seek out more junk food. Healthy adults who sleep only four or five hours a night end up eating more calories and snacking on sweet foods more frequently.

Another study found that proper sleep can increase your willpower to avoid unhealthy foods.