How sounds affect our sleep and productivity
Earlier, we talked about how to hide from annoying sounds and how to use the sound ecosystem for health benefits.
Today we will try to find out which sounds help to cope with insomnia, and which ones will make you the employee of the month. And also we will figure out whether it is worth listening to music while working.
Alternative to a lullaby
Noise can negatively affect human health. And especially a person is vulnerable in a dream. Sounds of 30-40 dB (whispering and chirping of birds outside the window) affect the sleep of the most sensitive people, and 40-55 dB (a working refrigerator or air conditioner within a radius of 30 meters) makes most people sleep more restless and makes them toss and turn. Sounds above 55 dB (washing machine or running music) lead to insomnia and irritability.
And certain sounds can, on the contrary, improve sleep. For example, white noise not only helps you fall asleep faster, but also promotes healthy sleep throughout the night. In addition to white noise, relaxing music or nature sounds have a similar effect. This resource transforms sounds of nature into soothing music in real time. And falling asleep under them can be much more pleasant than under the signaling of cars in the yard.
If there is no desire or opportunity to turn on music all night long, then you can use special applications. For example, SleepBot and Smart Alarm Clock record sounds that cause sleep disturbances. They can help you figure out what exactly is disturbing your sleep: a too loud refrigerator, the notorious sounds from the street, or your own snoring.
By the way, it is quite possible to fight snoring today through the application. When the snoring gets too loud, the app sends a signal to a special bracelet, which, using a gentle vibration, lets the person know that it’s time to change position. Of course, there is a universal and cheap tool – earplugs. But not everyone is comfortable sleeping in them. As a more functional alternative, special Kokoon headphones have been developed that not only shield from external sounds, but also allow you to listen to soothing music.
A special SleepCogni complex consisting of an application, a finger sensor and a lamp with built-in speakers will help to enhance the positive effect on sleep while fighting insomnia. With the help of a sensor, the application monitors heart rate, body temperature and other indicators. And when a person is close to waking up, the application transmits certain sounds, and the lamp emits light in a certain color spectrum. This calms the nervous system and allows for better and longer sleep.
Work hard, listen … hard?
Extraneous sounds and noise prevent us not only from sleeping. Sometimes we spend a lot more time at work than sleeping. We have already figured out how to make friends with sounds during sleep, and now let’s find out why extraneous sounds are dangerous during work and how to deal with them. The recommended noise level for comfortable operation is 45 dB. In a 1989 study, employees in open offices considered 48-52 dB ideal for work.
And current research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows that efficiency can be maintained up to a noise level of 70 dB. That is, today the noise level has increased significantly. And it significantly affects the health of employees, their job satisfaction and mood. However, it is not noisy equipment or sounds from the street that affects productivity most of all, but the conversations of colleagues. Proper office layouts and soundproofing materials can improve productivity, reduce errors and reduce stress.
But what if the office was not properly planned and colleagues are constantly chatting? Modern office workers come to the aid of headphones, in which you can listen to the sounds of nature to increase productivity. There are many apps and resources that offer different variations of rain sounds, from dripping on a windowsill to a rainstorm in the woods. And you can combine completely dissimilar sounds that are pleasant for you – the singing of birds, the crackle of a fire and the sound of train wheels.
You can also increase productivity with the help of music, but experts believe that not all genres are suitable for this. Classical music, wordless melodies, and video game soundtracks are the best performance-enhancing effects for many music lovers. You can also choose rhythmic music, familiar songs, or listen to music at a medium volume.
We have already written about what kind of music developers listen to – and many of them choose exactly rhythmic styles. But it all depends on what exactly the person is doing. If it is necessary to do work that requires high concentration, then music can, on the contrary, interfere.
Therefore, there is another way to increase your efficiency – listening to music on the way to work. Certain music can cheer you up so that a person will be better able to cope with their duties in the workplace.
The same is advised by neuroscientists, who note that music during certain activities – reading, writing, or performing tasks that require concentration of memory – only causes a feeling of high performance, but in fact acts negatively. But listening to music 10-15 minutes before work just relieves stress and helps to tune in.
Sounds are constantly present in our lives, and we can rarely enjoy silence. But if you know about useful sounds and their effect on us, then you can improve the quality of your life, ensure yourself a sound sleep, comfortable work and just enjoy life, not paying attention to annoying noise.