Will people develop a tolerance towards ASMR?

Fall asleep to music

«Do harmonious sounds really promote sleep? »

Nobody seriously doubts the positive influence of music on the human psyche. There is an interdisciplinary consensus among psychologists, doctors, scientists and, above all, the musicians themselves: It promotes relaxation, can help with psychological problems and in many cases helps people fall asleep better. There is therefore basically nothing wrong with listening to music in bed however, it is better to avoid some mistakes in order not to impair the positive effect. In addition to the appropriate sleep music, technical aspects must also be taken into account. When used correctly, even minor sleep problems can be alleviated or, in favorable cases, completely eliminated.

Fall asleep in total silence or with music?

Silence and darkness - for a long time this was considered in the doctrine of doctors and parents as the ideal environment for falling asleep quickly in bed and being able to relax extensively. However, it turned out that this statement is far too general and only depicts a limited number of people. In reality, the picture is much more complex. There are undoubtedly external conditions that permanently disrupt a healthy and effective night's sleep. Above all, this includes (extreme) brightness and noises that are individually perceived as noise or as a whole as annoying. However, the range from which point negative effects appear is very different.

Some people have an unusually high tolerance for all influences, including loud music, while others have a fine perception and quickly develop sleep problems that can be traced back to such triggers.

Individual perception of acoustic stimuli

Clear differences can already be seen in the relevant key stimuli, some of which are derived from personal development or result from individual character. For example, people who fall asleep to music sometimes find completely contrary directions relaxing - some prefer to listen to quiet music to fall asleep, others relax excellently to fast pieces of rock, hip-hop or metal. According to the results of various studies, the triggering factor is less the type of tones, but rather the association connected with them. If the music conveys a positive feeling and is perceived accordingly, technical details such as frequency, speed and beat play a subordinate and almost negligible role.

It is therefore not possible to make any binding, general statements about whether it is healthier for people to fall asleep to music or not.

In representative surveys in the past, the majority of all participants regularly stated that they preferred total silence. The ratio varies between two thirds and three quarters. However, they also show a clear cultural influence. Furthermore, they have an unevenly distributed weighting on a global level, because a large part of research takes place in western and individualistic societies and with correspondingly socialized test subjects. The question of wanting to sleep with or without music does not even arise in many realities of life.

Listening to Music in Bed - An Unreserved Recommendation?

Regardless of their origin, the following rule applies: Above a certain level, loud and constant noises always interfere with sleeping in bed - even if they are still perceived as pleasant when awake. Both psychological and physiological indicators influence the individual limit in equal measure. Very deep, bass-heavy or high notes and a quick, abrupt change in volume are particularly critical. As sound research has shown since the turn of the millennium, the human drum field absorbs energy very cheaply within certain frequencies, while outside these ranges the efficiency drops rapidly. This means that these edges de facto have a much higher physical "volume", which we do not perceive. This effect can be seen, for example, in the violent air vibrations that are physically perceived by loud bass tones.

Because of this, certain restrictions apply if someone wants to listen to music in bed to help them fall asleep. Regardless of the style, this should always run quietly and muffled in the background. Strong sound waves cannot penetrate the subconscious on their own and thereby influence the individual sleep phases by activating certain areas of the brain or waking up the person concerned. At a corresponding volume, they also have the potential to influence the body's metabolism on a microcellular level. It is true that total silence is not necessary to achieve optimal sleep - however, continuous stress with strong fluctuations in pitch and volume almost inevitably causes stress in an organism, even if it is not perceived.

Avoid electrosmog from wireless devices

The transmission of information by electromagnetic waves has many advantages and frees everyday life from annoying cables. After the spread of radio technology for communication as well as radio and television, this principle has also established itself in private households. While in the case of public transmission devices, however, the waves were sent at a great distance and usually at a considerable height, smartphones use small, powerful microtransmitters. In conjunction with suitable frequencies, they achieve good signal quality in a small radius and have a transmission power over a short distance that should not be underestimated.

The health effects of this electromagnetic radiation over long periods of time are controversial. Although the majority of science assumes that no significant effects are to be expected in most people - none of the participants assumes a positive effect. In addition, people react differently from person to person and there are known cases in which sensitive organisms react to electrosmog and develop symptoms that are similar to a chronic illness.

In view of the difficulty of an unequivocal diagnosis and the physical and psychological stress, it is therefore generally advisable not to keep smartphones and similar devices overnight on a bedside table or a dresser in the bed or in the bedroom at all and to forego the use of wireless transmissions, headphones or speakers . In order to be able to fall asleep with music, a local, non-networked player is usually sufficient - be it a classic radio or a small mini-system with connections for USB or memory cards.

Fall asleep better and rest undisturbed

In one night, a sleeping person goes through an average of three to five cycles in which light sleep, deep sleep and REM phases alternate. In all these stages, the central nervous system usually prevents a conscious perception of the environment, but continues to filter the information received below this level. This is a simple reflex that is supposed to ensure survival in critical situations - such as a nocturnal attack by an animal.

A single cycle lasts about 90 minutes and then repeats itself in undisturbed sleep. During light sleep, there is a high likelihood that sleep music will have the opposite effect - it will wake you up instead of providing relaxation. Even if in certain situations, such as sporadic or permanent noise from traffic, for example, it can make sense to cover it with music - it is always advisable to set a fixed timer to switch it off at the latest one hour after falling asleep.

It is certainly helpful in many cases to encourage sleep with music and listening to melodic, calming and harmonic pieces is undoubtedly suitable for combating light to moderate sleep problems without risks and side effects or for promoting relaxation. Letting them run all night, however, makes less sense - after falling asleep, the body and mind need rest and a clean, reliable, comfortable and ergonomically adapted bed.