As many of us know, when it comes to sleep it is the quality of sleep that really matters. Researchers have looked into improving our quality of sleep and have discovered that by syncing sounds to the rhythm of our brain’s slow oscillations, they can be enhanced for better quality of sleep and improved memory.
These slow oscillations in brain activity are known to be critical in our ability to retain memories. This means that when we enhance them, we will also enhance our capacity for memories.
Listening to music or sounds that have been synchronised to the rhythm of these oscillations can increase the amplitude of the oscillations by increasing the amount of slow-wave sleep we get.
The study in question was carried out on 11 people to see how listening to music affected the brains ability to remember. Participants were better able to remember word associations they had learned the previous evening after falling asleep listening to music synched with their slow-wave oscillations.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that listening to music not synched in any way to the brains activity had no effect on memory – proving that in order for this method to be effective, the music must be in synch with slow brain oscillations.
Dr Jan Born, co-author of the study from the University of Tübingen in Germany says:
“The beauty lies in the simplicity of applying auditory stimulation at low intensities. This approach is both practical and ethical if compared, for example, with electrical stimulation. Therefore, it portrays a straightforward tool for clinical settings to enhance sleep rhythms.”
The researchers believe this technique could also be used to enhance other brain rhythms to improve other functions, for example rhythms involved in our ability to focus and pay attention.
If you are struggling to get good quality sleep, seeing a hypnotherapist could help. For more information please see our Insomnia page.
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