Whether the wind blows through the leaves or birds sing their morning songs, the sounds of nature can help us relax. Whether it is the soothing sound of the waves on the shore, the rustling of the forest leaves in the wind or the rain dripping from a roof, these soothing sounds can help to relax body, mind and soul. Researchers have been researching the calming effect of nature on humans for many years.
Researchers have compared the calm effect of listening to the sounds of natural surroundings with artificial sounds and found that natural sounds stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system leading to more relaxation. For people who are under considerable stress, natural sounds lead to greater relaxation.
Research shows that natural sounds can help us sleep better and relieve stress. Hearing natural sounds at the end of the day can help our brain give a break and make us feel more happy, refreshed and less stressed. If stress disturbs your sleep, try gentle sounds of nature such as crickets chirping, a peaceful evening in the woods or a gentle breeze.
Scientists have found that nature can relax 10 and that natural sounds can be used as a sleep aid. Nature sounds activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate and causes other physiological changes that promote sleep. Typical soundtracks from nature are birdsong, ocean waves, 11 continuous rains and other rhythmic soundscapes.
Prominent and persistent natural sounds provide additional health benefits that go beyond masking noise. White noise is an effective protection for sleepers from external noise, and the strength of white noise lies in helping people fall asleep and preventing night waking (14). Pink noise, which sounds deeper than white noise, has established itself as a useful sleep aid (15).
Health and positive affective outcomes were improved, and stress and anger decreased in studies investigating the benefits of exposure to natural sounds. If listening to natural sounds compared to artificial sounds, increased resting, digestion and nervous system activity were associated with relaxation of the body and better performance in external attention monitoring tasks.
Participants’ response time was slower when they heard artificial sounds than natural ones. Natural sounds have been associated with a decrease in the sympathetic response (caused by the feeling of struggle or flight) and a rise in the parasympathetic response (which helps the body relax and function under normal circumstances) known as the residual digestive reaction. People started with a lower level of sympathy, while on the other hand there was a slight increase when listening to natural or artificial sounds.
Research associate at the University of Sussex, lead author Cassandra Gould-Van Praag, PhD, said that the results of the studies inspired her to hear and break out natural sounds while working on an app.
Natural sounds and green environments have of course been associated with relaxation for hundreds of years. For decades, people have withdrawn into nature for peace and clarity. Cognitive responses to sounds of nature have been shown to lead to increased productivity, improved overall mood and deep relaxation.
Scientists from the University of Sussex have had participants listen to recordings of natural and artificial sounds and measure their activity in the brain and nervous system. When listening to natural sounds the brain connectivity reflect a more direct focus of attention, when listening to artificial sounds it was similar to the ones observed in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Noise conveys a sense of place and connects man to nature and more and more evidence suggests that natural sounds are important for human health and well-being . Parks are visited more often than urban parks, and places where anthropogenic sounds and natural sounds are associated with health benefits are more common. However, parklands can affect the enjoyment and health of visitors, as environmental pollution can alter the number of sounds produced by animals and reduce the variety of natural sounds [3, 34].
The Sound of the Forest is a growing collection of recordings from forests and forests around the world, with recordings submitted by nature lovers visiting the sites.
The sounds of nature help to create a quiet environment with low stress levels. Sound is an innovative and unique way to celebrate the natural world from relaxing walks in nature to exploring new places.