Burning calories is a term most often associated with aerobic exercise and physically taxing jobs. But actually, you don’t need to be engaged in strenuous activity to burn calories. Your body uses them up around the clock, even when you are asleep. Learn more about the functions your body performs at night, and exactly how it uses calories while you sleep.
Counting sheep, warm milk, and tea are all some traditional methods used to fall asleep. But what happens after that? Why do we dream what we do? Why can’t you always remember your dreams? Dreaming is a mystery. Sometimes they are enchanting and other times we can’t get wake up fast enough to get out of them.
If you regularly struggle with insomnia, make sure you’re aware of these easy fixes. And if you’re trying to sleep in a loud environment, white noise might help you nod off more easily. A mixture of all sound frequencies at once, at the same level of intensity, white noise does a good job of masking other noises that can disrupt your sleep. Like a whirring fan or the hum of an air conditioner, white noise provides an even, steady stream of sound. In a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, researchers at Brown University Medical School reported patients in a hospital intensive care unit awakened less frequently during the night with white noise present, because it decreased the difference between background noise and the “peak” noises that punctuated the hospital’s noise environment.
It’s no surprise that ocean waves are a popular choice for soothing sleep sounds. For many people, the rhythmic crashing of water onto sand and rock can be meditative—and meditation carries some surprising health benefits. By creating a mental state of relaxation, contentment, and gentle focus, the wave sound can be deeply relaxing. In an interview with LiveScience, Dr. Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of behavioral health at Penn State University, described how the sound of the ocean can promote sleep. “These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people, “Buxton explained. “It’s like they’re saying: ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry.’”
It’s not just ocean waves that can provide soothing sounds to go to sleep. Maybe it’s the light patter of a rain shower, or the steady flow of a running stream that helps you wind down at the end of a long day. One key to the power of water sounds to help us sleep, said Buxton, is the relatively gentle, gradual variations in the intensity of moving water sounds. Even more than volume, the abrupt, sudden presence of a noise can be jarring to sleep, Buxton and fellow researchers found in their 2012 study of how hospital noises disrupt sleep, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dreams can be a powerful influencer over our daily lives and a fascinating subject to study. The impact and meaning of dreams have even been analyzed for centuries by ancient civilizations. The Romans would translate their dreams as messages from the gods, and would debate dream subjects in the senate. The Greeks would purify themselves before sleeping in the temples to receive untainted messages from the gods. But the Assyrians would interpret their dreams as signs, whether a forewarning of things about to go wrong or as advice to follow.