November, this month of Thanksgiving, is known as 30 Days of Giving and each day is an opportunity to do something for someone, including yourself, to show how thankful you are. That gratitude can be born of something that person has done for you, for life itself, for the possibilities of tomorrow, or simply because you, yourself, deserve some serious self-care.
The ways we can give are broad and open to possibility. You can give the gift of things, advice, presentations, hope — tangible to ephemeral, it’s an open field. What about sleep? It’s a vital aspect of living, right? Getting the right amount for you — both too little and too much are detrimental to your health — is a delicate balancing act. In celebration of these 30 Days of Giving and to help you navigate the different noises of the season to maintain good sleep health for yourself and those you love, we’d like to share an idea for giving the gift of a good night’s rest: Sound.
The sounds of sleep
Why is it that the sounds of the ocean, water rushing over rocks, the wind through the trees — gentle, nature sounds — relax us and help us sleep? Our brains are hardwired to react to certain stimuli as either a threat or non-threat. Car horns, screams, alarms — you know the sounds — put us on alert and amp up our stress. These prompt our fight-or-flight response and make us tense. The repetition of low-frequency, sort of “whooshing” sounds, on the other hand, are immediately seen as calming and non-threatening by our minds, and we find ourselves relaxing because of it, embracing them and welcoming them. White noise, for example, gives our brain something to focus on, quieting the cacophony of thoughts swirling through our head at any given time of day.
Giving the gift of sound to help someone or yourself sleep better is especially wonderful as the holidays begin. Our stress levels notoriously rise as we are faced with the logistics, planning, and responsibilities of what this time of year entails. Why not take advantage of bringing calm and relaxation into your life and the life of those around you?
Nature, devices, and apps… Oh, Yawn!
There are the obvious walks or drives through nature to hear the wind rustling the leaves and birds chirping, taking someone or going to the beach or a riverfront, closing your eyes, and listening to the waves crash and the water flow over the rocks. Not only do these natural acoustics relax our minds and create a feeling of calm, but getting out and about, away from all media, concentrating on the beauty around us, refreshes us and slows our heart rate. It’s also a way to bond with that other person and ourselves.
Sound machines can make your slumber that much more fulfilling and blissful. The range of products that cover this are vast and offer a variety of support to kick off that perfect nap, or evening snooze. Whether it’s seeking white noise in something like the Marpac Dohm Classic, you want variety with water and more through the Sound + Sleep Sleep Sound Machine, or something you can take wherever you go in the world with Homedics Portable Sleep Therapy, devices that enhance and promote better slumber are right at your fingertips and wonderful options for giving the gift of rest and relaxation, whether to yourself or someone else.
And, of course, apps such as Noisli and HealthTunes — where you can pick music or sounds that fit your relaxation and even health needs — and Headspace and Calm — that not only provide you with ambient sounds and music, but narratives meant to “speak” you to relax and sleep — are also great to help with a restful snooze because you can take them wherever you go as well as give them to someone else.
The gift that keeps us living
Sleep matters, as you well know. Better rest is the ultimate caring gift to give and to take. We all deserve true, calming relaxation and slumber. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays right here, giving yourself and someone you love the benefit of closing your eyes, blocking out the stress and craziness, and drifting away, is glorious.
Who knew that simply giving and taking solace in some well-placed sound management makes falling into a blissful slumber that much easier?
Well, now you do.