How sound therapy promotes sleep
What is sound therapy?
“Sound therapy uses sounds, special instruments, voice and/or music, which are then played for the client in therapeutic ways to achieve certain frequencies and promote holistic well-being,” explains May Globus, a certified sound therapist. During a sound therapy session, the client lies down with eyes closed and absorbs the sound frequencies created by the practitioner.
In Globus’s view, this therapy is both science and art, developed over the centuries. Sound therapists use instruments and modalities originating from Asian, Egyptian, and Indigenous cultures, like crystal bowls, gongs, drums, rattles, and tuning forks.
A sound way to improve sleep
Some research shows that sound therapy can prompt the brain to operate at a brainwave pattern that promotes relaxation, lowers anxiety, and makes it easier to fall asleep more soundly. A small study also found that sound therapy that creates this brainwave state also creates three other chemicals associated with sleep: dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), cortisol, and melatonin.
Getting started on sound therapy
If you want to experience sound therapy, Globus believes it’s best to start out by seeing a certified practitioner or by attending a group sound therapy session. During a session, some people will feel physical sensations, some will see colors, and for others, memories and scenes will come to mind.
If you find this experience enjoyable, says Globus, you may want to visit a specialty store that carries sound therapy instruments. Look for the one that resonates with you, suggests Globus. Then, you can make it part of your nightly bedtime ritual.
Sound therapy is also easily accessible through YouTube. “Amazing practitioners from around the world upload videos of themselves playing bowls and other instruments,” says Globus.
Sounds of relaxation
Poor mood and elevated anxiety have all been linked to an increased incidence of disease, including diabetes. Sound therapy is one way to induce a relaxation response. The relaxation response includes lowered blood pressure and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
The benefits of biomats
Biomats are slim pads that can be placed on top of a mattress or massage table. It is said to help the user, through far infrared rays, negative ions, and amethyst precious stones, to relax and fall into a deep sleep.
One small study saw an average of 78 percent improvement in stress reduction, better sleep, less cortisol, and overall improvement in participants who used biomat for one hour a day over two months, when combined with lifestyle changes.
Fatigue can have a wide variety of causes. It can come from conditions like diabetes or other chronic illnesses, or from lifestyle habits like poor sleep management or stress. Consult your health care provider to eliminate any underlying conditions if you’re experiencing long-lasting and unexplained fatigue.
You may find the following supplements helpful in supporting a stressed and fatigued system.
Some research suggests that supplementing with melatonin can help with jet lag or issues with falling or staying asleep.
Magnesium can be found in nuts and leafy greens. If you’re not getting enough magnesium, you may have a harder time falling or staying asleep.
You can brew a cup of valerian dried root tea or ingest valerian in pill or liquid form for a sounder sleep.
A waft of lavender from an essential oil diffuser or a few drops of the oil on your pillowcase while tucking yourself in may help lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature.
Passionflower is a type of climbing vine traditionally used by Indigenous North Americans for its calming properties.
This article was originally published in the Holiday 2023 issue of Live Naturally magazine.