By Your Headspace Mindfulness & Meditation Experts
If you’re tossing and turning, distracted, or overwhelmed, there are countless sounds that can help you drop into a meditative state or slip into a restful sleep. Nature sounds specifically can help promote relaxation by signifying that it’s time for us to turn off and ease into the element we’re in.
Relax, get in the zone, or drift off to sleep
Hear the calming, comforting sounds of a waterfall cascading into tranquil, still waters.
Nature sounds are reminiscent of tranquil environments such as the rain and ocean — sometimes blended with instruments — that come together to craft relaxing nature music.
The benefits of nature sounds
The cognitive response to the sounds of nature have been shown to result in increased productivity, improved overall mood, and deeper relaxation. For decades, people have been retreating to nature for a sense of calmness and clarity. Whether that is the beach, mountains, rainforest or desert, the sounds of water, wind blowing through the trees, animals like crickets and birds, and other nature-like tones have comforted mankind for many years.
While many of us don’t have the same access to a long-term daily connection with nature as our ancestors once did, the ability to utilize relaxing nature music can certainly help reap its great benefits.
In a 2017 study at the University of Sussex, it was shown that playing natural sounds can affect the bodily system that controls the flight-or-fright response, resulting in greater bodily relaxation and less physiological reaction to stressors. Whether you’re beginning a meditation practice or going through daily activities, nature sounds may help keep your mind in a balanced state for improved decision-making skills throughout the day.
In addition, an increasing number of offices have started to implement sound-masking systems that are inspired by natural sounds in lieu of manufactured sounds. The continuous development of improved moods amongst employees has shown benefits of more efficient productivity and a greater sweeping happiness mark across the board.
Overall, the soothing sounds of ocean waves crashing or poetic rain falling on the grass may help bring your mindset into a state of calmness that can benefit your cognitive function and nervous system — whether you’re listening intentionally via meditation or subliminally in a public setting.
Nature sounds and sleep
Nature sounds for sleep are often used amongst other ambient sounds in white noise machines, which traditionally help listeners fall asleep by providing a subliminal diversion to external or internal distractions.
A prominent aspect in Sleep by Headspace — a collection of relaxing sounds and meditations to help you sleep soundly — is the sleep music. Sleep music offers both a combination of repeated harmonies with live instruments and nature sounds like the gentle chirping of crickets or the sound of falling rain accompanied by an organ.
The sleepcasts in Sleep by Headspace provide low-energy environments that build the perfect conditions for a restful sleep. Below is a sleepcast of Rainday Antiques, which establishes a cozy environment using the sounds of rain and visualization techniques through a dreamy atmosphere, building the ultimate environment for relaxation.
Reap the benefits of nature sounds from the comfort of your own space. The Headspace app has a robust offering of sessions that include relaxing nature music to get you started (available only to Headspace subscribers).
Sleep made simple
- Find your perfect bedtime routine with hours of relaxing music, sounds, and stories to choose from
- Get more restful sleep with our Sleep Health course: exercises developed with leading sleep scientists
- Feel your best from morning to bedtime with access to hundreds of stress-relieving meditations