This Is The Best Way To Fall Asleep According To Science

You might not need a dummy and fresh nappy before you head to bed for the night - but turns out you could benefit from one baby-inspired sleep hack.

According to a new study published in the journal Current Biology, being rocked may help you fall asleep sooner, sleep deeper, sleep longer, and your memories more effectively while sleeping to boost recall.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

The scientists who conducted the research, from the University of Geneva, built a special adult bed that rocked gently throughout the night and then asked 18 young adults (ten women and eight men) to drift off in it (presumably one at a time).

Volunteers spent three nights at a sleep laboratory in Geneva: one to get them used to sleeping there, one on a rocking bed and the other on the same bed, but in a still position (and with a few nights at home in between to 'wash out' the effects of the previous nights).

The rocking bed gently swayed laterally by 10.5 cm at a frequency of 0.25 Hertz throughout the night. This meant that the bed cycled back and forth once every four seconds. The lead study author, Laurence Bayer, confirmed that this was not fast enough to cause nausea.

Electrodes recorded their brainwaves, and found that the period of deep sleep was extended by rocking.

They found the subjects woke up slept more deeply, waking up fewer times than they did on a traditional non-rocking bed.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

The researchers believe that the gentle rocking motion of the bed resulted in a longer period of slow brainwaves (which cause deep sleep) as well as improving their memory.

"A hammock would probably not be as efficient, although people often report a sense of relaxation when rocked in a hammock," explained Laurence.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

"In our paper we test the effect of rocking on one night, but we have no idea if the effects will still be there over a long-term period."

Researcher, Aurore Perrault, explained: "To see if this also affected memory, we subjected our participants to memory tests: they had to learn pairs of random words in the evening and remember them in the morning when they woke up."

The participants had better memory recall in the morning if they slept on the rocking bed compared to the stationary one.

A rocking bed might not exist yet, but in the meantime, a hammock might be the answer to helping you sleep more like a baby.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

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