Sound Asleep

How sound can put you to sleep.

Dil Khosa
Dil Khosa
Jul 24, 2019 · 5 min read

Excuse the pun! I had to!

As babies most of us were soothed to sleep by lullabies.

So why not as adults?

There are specific sounds and rhymes that have been proven to put us to sleep, even as adults. The type of sound that resonates with you totally depends on you and is unique to you. So it can involve some experimenting, if you’re keen to try to use sound to have a good nights sleep. And we know how much good sleep does wonders to our minds, bodies and soul.

Here, I’m going to share a few types of sounds that I’ve come across and tried out.

Sleep stories

Stories to help you fall asleep in calming voices offered via a variety of apps such as Calm can actually help you fall asleep. The trick is that you’re completely focused on listening to the story instead of ruminating in your stream of worrying thoughts, and that sole focus is on the calming story that puts you to sleep. I have certainly found myself drifting off to sleep halfway through Wind in the Willows by Tamara Lewitt in Calm.

Binaural beats

Photo by Kuo-Chiao Lin on Unsplash

Binaural beats combine two different sound frequencies to make our brains think it is all one tone. Evidence shows that these type of beats change our brainwaves, making them slow down and helping you to relax relax, lower your fight / flight response and make it easier for you to fall asleep more soundly. More benefits to binaural beats here.


Social media introduced millenials to ASMR. It is of course scientifically known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is supposed to involve gentle sounds, like whispering, to help your mind relax and eventually fall asleep. This one can either work for you or not, as some people are extra reactive to the sounds and it can be irritating and tingly if you’re particularly sensitive to it.

Sounds under a specific frequency (hertz)

Similar to binaural beats, any sounds that are at specific hertz (hz) such as 528 hz or any of the Solfeggio frequencies, relaxes your brain. You can feel your brain waves slowing down into sleep when you listen to it, I would suggest a quick meditation or breathing exercises before getting into it. This one can def boost sleep quality. Here is my go to audio on YouTube.

Bowls — any kind, crystal, Tibetan monk etc

Sound baths have been around for a long time, before we even took notice of it more recently. From the transcendental tones of the Tibetan singing bowls or , a collection of metal and crystal vessels that emit different frequencies and are used to encourage meditation and relaxation. Meditation apps such as Insight Timer do offer a few different options to listen to. This was one of the first things I tried @ Spring spa. You can now also do it @ brthe. Major sleep amplifier!

White noises

Any kind of background noises that drown out other sounds such as fans, anything that can make a constant ‘hissing’ sound — even a TV running in the background, which I know many of you fall asleep to (although this one is debatable). There are sounds machines that offered this. I personally find it distracting!

Natural sounds

Jungle, water running, rain, etc. Anything that you can find in nature, you can now find in an app offering nature sounds to put you to sleep feeling like you are out there in nature. Many times, we have really enjoyed cosying up to heavy rain on a wintery night, and that in itself has made us sleepy. For example, some apps and even Spotify have put together these sounds, that are downloadable or easily accessible for you to recreate those cosy sleepy moments.

Guided meditation & body scan

Not quite in the sound category, and more under mindfulness. However, using guided meditation to breathe deeply and mentally scan your body, one area at a time — really brings you into your own body and that focus can allow you to slowly forget your worries and do less thinking & more relaxing into your own. This can sometimes put people to sleep, as it has done me — usually I scan up to my thighs from toes upwards, and I’ve fallen asleep!

I’m sure there’s more but these are the ones I’ve tried and my go to sounds are definitely the bowls, meditation and sounds under specific hertz. Completely relaxes my brain without me even knowing, and next thing you know I’m deep asleep. I kind of rotate between these every other night! Beats taking sleeping pills any day.

Hope this helps anyone out there struggling to switch off your mind to fall into a deep slumber.



Dil Khosa

Written by

Dil Khosa

Doer & operator in #science #tech | Co-Chair NZTech Tech Women | Startup Genome NZ Ambassador | EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women 2015 | Modern Feminist

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