Why do sounds of nature help you relax.


Ever wondered why the bubbling of a stream or the soft chipping of birds as they flit by your window relax you? Several people testify to the fact that under great stress their go to playlist doesn’t comprise of their favorite artist but of nature sounds. One of the most notable case would be a famous prince, who likes listening to buffalos when he is stressed out after a long day. Several researchers have found it most intriguing- why the human mind loves the subtle sounds of nature even after hundreds of years of modernization.


Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have put forward a very interesting claim. Soft sounds of nature such as birds or the pitter-patter of rain may act as camouflage to the other threatening and “wake-me-up” noises we regularly experience throughout the day. This works as a calming mechanism and takes our attention away from noises that would normally increase our adrenalin levels- effectively calming us. Using nature sounds as a way to relax can help you sleep faster and have a more restful night’s sleep. Playing nature sounds through the night may be difficult but it has also been known as an effective easy to block all “alert” noises we as primates have been accustomed to wake up to for our safety.


Brighton and Sussex Medical School has been researching on nature sounds and its effects on the human brain and has come up with some very enlightening results. Their results show that nature sounds could be an effective way to counter mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. In their research, the human brain showed patterns of connectivity that were directed outwards when listening to nature sounds, in contrast to an inward directed pattern when listening to artificial sounds. It would be interesting to note that the neuronal firing seen while listening to artificial sounds are the same as those seen in depression and anxiety.


These researches have proved that human beings still have an inner need to rewind and relax to the sounds of nature. Insomnia, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems are a side effect of being so removed from nature and we must find ways to bring ourselves back to it. There is anecdotal evidence that mobile apps that carry nature sounds are most effective to help insomnia and promote relaxation if used on silent mode. Phone notification are one of the “alert” sounds that humans have been conditioned to respond to.


Various apps such as The Sleeping Garden are available on the play store and hold a huge panel of nature sounds you can mix and match. The loudness of sounds has been an important factor to the effect on the human body and its response to it. This is why we must be careful and use these sounds at a comfortable level. The Sleeping Garden app has prerecorded sounds that are mild and soothing and even when mixed together, create a harmony of calm natural sounds. For all those who find it hard to relax after a long tiring day, give nature a try!