If you can't sleep with abrupt noises in the background, you're not alone.
A 2012 study by Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, found that these sounds trigger an evolutionary response to what the brain interprets as possible threats. That's why one particular noise has the opposite effect and helps us get a good night's rest—the sound of water.
The calming water sounds on a sleep track carry non-threatening and non-abrupt sounds that vary in volume to prevent startling a person awake. They also block out noises that the brain could see as threatening, like the sound of a housemate flushing a toilet.
"These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people," Buxton said. "It's like they're saying: 'Don't worry, don't worry, don't worry.'"
The next time there's light rain, we look forward to catching some perfect Z's!
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