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The Science of Lullabies & Why It Works

October 08, 2019


Why do lullabies put babies to sleep?

Lullabies are one of those tools every parent needs in their arsenal if they want to get some proper rest once their babies are born. Other sleep fads come and go, but for some reason, the low-tech lullaby has stood the test of time. Have you ever wondered why that is? Well, it turns out our brains are pretty complex and amazing when it comes to processing music. Here’s a look at the science behind rhythmic singing and why it calms down the brain, paving the way for sound sleep: 

The human brain is hardwired for rhythm

Did you know that babies are able to detect differences in rhythm from as early as one day old? A recent study that set out to find out whether beat perceptions in humans is innate or learned, found that it is, in fact, something we are born with. The perceptual capability to detect a regular pulse by means of an audio signal is one of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom and gives us an evolutionary advantage

Scientists postulate that a sense of rhythm aided movement synchronisation in groups, which is helpful when you are travelling in a large group and need moments of silence to find prey or detect stalkers. Those with a particularly keen sense of rhythm would also be able to tell apart from one member of the tribe from another at a distance by listening for the particular sound creates by their unique footsteps, breathing, etc.

Music triggers our brain’s reward system

Your brain treats music differently than any other sound. In fact, at the peak, an emotional time during a song, dopamine is released in the brain's striatum (also known as the neostriatum or striate nucleus, is a subcortical part of the forebrain and a critical component of the reward system). Along with the peak emotional times, dopamine is also released during the anticipation of these times. So basically, listening to music is amazing and your brain is encouraging you to keep doing it by the release of everybody's favourite neurotransmitter. 

Don’t you just love the human brain? Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months for more insider info on the science of sleep and how you can use it to get some quality shuteye at night. Speaking of which, if you’ve been considering investing in a new sleep surface to get better rest, we’d like to invite you to visit us in-store at our Bed King branches throughout South Africa. We’ve got a brand-new way of recommending mattresses - the Comfort Solutions Lab®! You lie down, the lab measures your pressure points and we interpret the data to point you in the direction of the mattress that ticks all your must-have boxes. Come see!

 


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