Sleeping is so hard when you can’t stop thinking. Too often, negative thoughts lead to anxiety-induced insomnia, depriving us of a much-needed rest after a long day. Millions of people across the world suffer from insomnia and other sleeping disorders. Given the current health emergency, the number of people experiencing sleep deprivation has dramatically increased. If this is your case, be rest assured as there are several things you can do to fully switch off and enjoy deep, restorative sleep.
At night, the human brain processes everything that happened during the day. As human beings absorb high quantities of information throughout the day, you don’t have the time to process and analyze all your thoughts as you work, commute, or spend quality time with your loved ones.
As soon as you are in bed, lying still and in silence, your thoughts start rolling around in your head. You suddenly remember the bills to pay, upcoming work deadlines, and arguments you had with a loved one. Silencing those thoughts becomes an enormous challenge and the biggest obstacle separating you from a good night’s sleep. When you are sleep deprived, your energy levels drop, you feel fatigued, irritable, and are at risk of poor performance at work or school.
Sleep deprivation on the current emergency climate
In this fast-paced world, quality sleep has become an unattainable luxury. In several nations, people spend less than seven hours sleeping. As such, sleep problems are not uncommon. However, the COVID-19 situation is causing a spike in sleep issues. Things are changing quickly and everyone has to adjust to a new and often stressful reality. This is far from an easy task!
The sense of unease lingers around us 24/7. We fear getting ill and worry about our family and friend’s safety. We are also concerned about the stability of our jobs and the economy’s future. As if this wasn’t enough, we are experiencing an overload of information. The news constantly reminds us of the grim reality, heavily focusing on negative developments. Understandably, stress and anxiety levels are on the rise. According to experts, this leads to fragmented sleep, unusual sleep schedules, and so on.
A recent report by Express Scripts, an American prescription benefit plan provider, showed a rise in the number of anti-insomnia and anti-anxiety medications. The number increased by 21% between February and mid-March of 2020. A survey by The Sleep Council UK found that 43% of the respondents had issues falling asleep. The unease around the current situation was the main cause of poor sleep for three-quarters of people (75%).
Why you should prioritize sleep now more than ever
Healthy sleep is vital for everyone. It is just as important as eating or exercising. While you sleep, your body begins getting ready for the following day. Think of it as a restoration process that is necessary so you can function at your best potential. Overall, this has a wide range of benefits for both your mental and physical well-being such as:
Effective immune system
Studies reveal that sleep deprivation increases your chances of getting sick after being exposed to a virus. Poor sleep can also affect your recovery rate from an illness. This is attributed to cytokines — proteins that your immune system releases while you are asleep. Poor sleep decreases cytokine production. What’s more, the production of infection-fighting antibodies and cells decreases when you don’t get enough sleep.
There’s a close relationship between sleep and memory. Although scientists don’t exactly know how sleep influences memory, they believe it has to do with the hippocampus and neocortex. These two are parts of the brain where long-term memories are stored. While you are asleep, the hippocampus replays the events of the day for the neocortex, just like a film. Then, the neocortex reviews and processes memories to make them stick. It’s no wonder that, when you pull an all-nighter studying for an exam, you struggle to recall the facts you spent hours and hours memorizing.
Experiments show that sleep enables creative problem-solving. Researchers from Cardiff University came up with a new theory to explain how these two elements are connected. It goes back to the brain and how it processes information.
During non-REM sleep, the hippocampus and the neocortex are in a very flexible state. In this state, connections between neurons can be easily formed, strengthened, or weakened. This allows the neocortex to unconsciously look for similarities between seemingly unrelated concepts. If you are working on a problem and you are stuck, the neocortex replays abstracted and simplified elements of the problem. When you wake up the next day, you can see the problem from a fresh perspective.
Do you feel numb when you haven’t got enough sleep? Lack of sleep slows down your reaction time, leading to dangerous consequences. A survey by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that nearly one-third of drivers said they have nodded off or fallen asleep while behind the wheel. According to researchers, sleep deprivation slows down individual neurons in our brains. This slowdown impacts the brain’s visual perception and memory associations. As a result, we experience a delay in our behavioral response to events taking place around us.
After a sleepless night, you feel irritable, tired, and vulnerable to stress. A study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that subjects who were limited to just 4.5 hours of sleep per night for one week felt more stressed, angry, sad, and overall, mentally exhausted. Once they resumed normal sleep, there was a dramatic improvement in their mood.
By now, you know that a good night’s sleep improves concentration, memory, decision-making, and mood. It makes sense then that you are much better at solving problems and coping with stressful situations when you are well-rested. On the other hand, lack of sleep minimizes your energy and mental clarity. Research demonstrates that poor sleep renders you more sensitive and emotionally reactive to negative stimuli. Naturally, this increases stress levels.
Fighting anxiety-induced insomnia with relaxing sounds
When racing thoughts and daily worries become too powerful, a comfortable bed is not enough to help you fall asleep. We need something more. For years, soothing and beautiful sounds from nature have helped humans to wander into a peaceful slumber. The crash of ocean waves on the sound or the rustling of the leaves — these sounds are so placid that many people can’t help to fall asleep by listening to them. Why?
It all goes back to the brain and how it interprets the noises we hear: threats or non-threats. You might have noticed that certain sounds, no matter how hard you try, cannot be ignored. Perhaps your phone’s alarm or the honking of cars during traffic jams. Such sounds can activate the brain’s threat-activated vigilance system, waking us up from slumber.
By contrast, the sounds of flowing water or blowing winds blend easily in the background. These are non-threatening sounds, which help us relax and disconnect for a while. At an adequate volume, such sounds drown out disturbing noises that usually trigger your brain’s vigilance system. In recent years, relaxing sounds have become a popular alternative to facilitate sleep.
Sleep better with Synctuition’s 3D nature sounds
Beautiful nature sounds are associated with a decrease in the sympathetic response, the one that causes the fight-or-flight feeling. Nature sounds are also linked to body relaxation or the so-called “rest-digest” response. A study by the University of Sussex found that nature clips helped participants to relax.
With a skilled combination of 3D nature sounds and binaural beats, Synctuition prepares the mind for a good night’s sleep. Our team of sound engineers worked consistently to capture the most beautiful sounds from pristine natural environments in 2000 locations all over the world. When you listen through stereo headphones, the authentic soundscapes will help you to distance yourself from anxious thoughts. This way, you will feel comfortable and relaxed, just what you need to fall asleep.
If anxious thoughts are keeping you awake at night, it’s time to take action. Relaxing sounds are an excellent way to cleanse your mind from racing thoughts, placing you in the perfect mood for a deep slumber. Synctuition has captured the most soothing and mesmerizing sounds from nature to help you sleep better. Discover over a hundred immersive sound journeys today!