Did you know, roughly 62 percent of the adults globally feel that they don’t sleep well at night? Tossing and turning in bed, minds racing with anxious thoughts, and feeling tired and irritable the next day, people are desperate for tools and technologies to help them sleep better. Or maybe they just need a few good bedtime stories.
But aren’t bedtime stories meant for kids?
Yes, but the reasons why they helped us fall asleep as kids hold true even in adulthood. The only difference is that as kids, our parents or grandparents would narrate them to us, while as adults we have to seek technology-enabled solutions to lull us to sleep.
There are multiple online resources and apps that offer bedtime stories for grown-ups. Tuning into these stories —often narrated by celebrities — is a great way to end a tiring day on a restful note.
Vivid story-scapes, narrated in deep soothing vocals and set to relaxing music can be a much-needed antidote to slow down our minds and help us drift into sleep.
Hearing too much of our own voice and thoughts at bedtime, which is pretty common, leads us, down the slippery slope of brain cacophony, to poor sleep. On the other hand, listening to someone else’s voice is an effective means of muting all those bothersome thoughts and voices in your head.
Listening to music and bedtime stories helps us sleep better
Getting ready for bed doesn’t only mean removing makeup, brushing your teeth and slipping into your pyjamas. Switching off physically and mentally is a complex biochemical process that requires lowering the heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure and reducing the levels of stress hormones. Listening to both music and stories has been shown to help us achieve these states.
But what kind of stories trigger our sleep hormones? While there isn’t any scientific data on this, market data indicates that sleep stories that enjoy a large listenership are wide in their genre, scope, and region of origin — from folk stories to fairy tales to stories about friendship and life experiences. However, their execution—how they are narrated—matters a lot. The cadence, tone, and energy of the narrator can make or break a story. A soothing musical track accompanying it can make it dance.
Scoring music for stories, like films, makes them more effective
If you observe people around you, many of them listen to TV and movie scores before falling asleep. What if meditative music for sleep was scored in three-act structures, like music for a film? And while we are at it, why not insert spoken word into that score?
Narration and music are great in and of themselves but put together, it’s a whole different experience. Just like when peanut butter first “met” chocolate. The combination of story, soothing vocal execution, and a delicate score to reinforce each section of the story is a new concept; but there are plenty of reasons why it would work.
Scoring bedtime stories to music in three-act structures helps enhance their soporific benefits. Humans dream in three-act structures. These structures oftentimes are not obvious in their demarcation and segments. Adding music aids the concept of a beginning, middle, and end. Music changes the way a story is signaled into the audience’s brain. It heightens the emotion, and it can be used to emphasise the three-act structure even when it is not blatantly structured into a story. Imagine listening to a three-act structured story, only to dream in three acts. It’s perfect sleep hygiene.
A good night’s sleep is essential for our holistic wellbeing. It deeply nourishes and heals our bodies and minds. But poor sleep is much more common than we realise. Now that you know how music and bedtime stories might affect your brain, how about try switching on a bedtime story on your device the next time you find yourself struggling to fall asleep? You might just start slowly drifting into restful sleep, lulled by soothing music and words. And wake up fully recharged the next morning to meet the challenges of the day head on.
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