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With music or in silence? How do people fall asleep best?

With music, television, radio drama or in complete silence? Which method of falling asleep is healthy for us and ensures a deep sleep?

In silence or with music: how to best fall asleep

Most of us grew up with the idea that to sleep it must be quiet. It is not for nothing that there are night flight bans, noise protection ordinances and house rules that are intended to curb noise pollution at certain times. It goes without saying that we don't necessarily want to hear construction site noise when we fall asleep. But does it have to be absolute silence? Or can music and other relaxing sounds have a positive effect on falling asleep and the quality of sleep?

Different people have different needs to fall asleep

Whether you fall asleep better in absolute silence or with pleasant background noise cannot be said in general terms. The answer depends on each individual's individual preferences. In a 2012 study by the Sleeping Foundation, 74 percent of the Americans surveyed said they preferred silence when falling asleep and at night. Nevertheless: There are a variety of sleep tactics and not all of them are objectively good for us.

Falling asleep with the television or radio on

Some people specifically turn on the television or radio in the evening in order to fall asleep better to the background noise. The problem: Unlike meditative sounds from a CD, the background noise from a television or many radio stations often fluctuates greatly in pitch and volume. Even if we are sometimes not even aware of this, our sleep can be severely disturbed by it. But sometimes we do notice it: For example, when the thriller has started and a pistol shot scares us from our newly won sleep.
Another problem with many devices is that we usually have to wake up later in the night and switch off the television or radio. In the long run, this completely messes up a healthy sleep rhythm. Even if some people may find it pleasant: This method is not helpful.

Tip to sleep: with the sound of "white noise" in the bedroom

White noise is a sleep aid for those who seek absolute peace of mind while falling asleep, but cannot find it. Be it because the bear is raging outside on the main street even at night, because the neighbors are partying for the fifth night in a row or the train thunders past under the window with nerve-racking irregularities.
In these cases, a device that generates so-called white noise (a so-called white noise machine) can be used. At first glance, it may sound absurd to use a sound to combat the disturbing influences of noises. So how can this work?
White noise is noise in a certain frequency range that is limited in bandwidth. Specifically, this means: It is a very monotonous noise. Precisely because it is quite boring to listen to, it is ideal for falling asleep. It is also used in tinnitus therapy, among other things, so that the patient is less likely to perceive the background noise in his own ear.
To fall asleep, there are the already mentioned white noise machines, specially developed for this purpose, which generate this white noise. Strictly speaking, any other monotonous hum - for example that of a fan or a purring cat - is also good. But if you don't want to rely on cats purring all the time and don't want to have a fan in the bedroom, this little sleep gadget is good for you.

Does music help you fall asleep - yes or no?

As already described: radio and television are unsuitable as sleep aids. What about music now? Here it all depends. Heavy metal or hip-hop are undoubtedly not the ideal soundtracks for falling asleep, because the same problem arises here as with television: There are too many "moments of surprise" in the musical course that can seriously disturb our brain.

However, calm melodies work well and have a calming function. After all, this principle also works with small children, to whom we as parents sing something to fall asleep. Those who let themselves be accompanied by calm melodies when falling asleep can even demonstrably lower their heart rate.
Sounds of the sea or other soundscapes, as we know them from relaxation CDs, are also well suited. A guided meditation or very calmly spoken audio books or radio plays also work wonders for some people when they fall asleep - even if that is not their actual purpose.

Can bed headphones, music pillows, etc. help you fall asleep?

Of course, we can simply play pleasant soundscapes on CD. There are also special bed headphones. These are headbands in which the earphones are incorporated in such a way that they do not interfere when lying down.
Another alternative are musical pillows. A loudspeaker is integrated into the pillow itself, through which sounds can be played. The pillows have the advantage that they do not hinder sleeping at all. So if a headband with integrated headphones is too bulky for you at night, you should give such a pillow a try. However, there are still no clear studies that have proven the harmlessness of bed headphones with regard to their radiation.
If you haven't found the right sounds yet, you can download the Barmer bedtime skill for Amazon Echo, for example.

Measure sleep quality - the best apps

Those who love it very precisely and efficiently can also try sleep tracking. Different apps measure not only the duration of sleep, but also the sleep intensity and the sleep frequency. In this way, they make it possible to start getting up at a time that is best for the body. This does not happen with a shrill alarm clock, but with gentle sounds that wake us up step by step. The apps also allow you to play calm sounds to help you fall asleep better. There are also smart earplugs that do this job. Compared to loudspeakers and the use of smartphones, they have the advantage that the partner is not disturbed in their sleep, as only the user can hear the sounds themselves.

There are many ways to get a good night's sleep

That is undoubtedly correct! Whether we sleep best with or without music, with white noise or in absolute silence: our sense of hearing plays a crucial role in falling asleep and for our overall sleep quality. Reason enough to take a look at the various options. After all, it is in our own interest that we get out of bed fit and rested in the morning and start the day. And if one of these technical aids, gadgets and apps helps - why not?