Ambient Music and Sound for Inducing Sleep

Ambient music and sound - loosely defined as atmospheric, pleasant, and non-intrusive - can help induce a relaxed mood and drowsiness.

Everyone is familiar with lullabies, the age-old musical standby for getting resistant babies and children to sleep.

Recorded ambient music albums and "white noise" devices are a recent addition to the traditional lullaby category of sleep-inducing sound.

Gentle classical music, soothing New Age or space music, and "nature sounds" including gentle rain, ocean waves, whale songs, waterfalls, or forest sounds tend to be the top CD choices for insomniacs of all ages.

Small, portable sound-generating machines are another popular choice for soothing, sleep-inducing noise; these tend to be especially effective on babies.

Some of these white noise gadgets can be programmed to run for a specific amount of time, or to fade in and out.

Ambient music and noise as a sleep aid vary in effectiveness from one person to another.

Some people do better with an endless predictable rhythm, while others get drowsier with a melody or random sound.

Scientists researching the effect of music on sleep are investigating the brain's own "music" in the form of EEG recordings converted into musical compositions, and whether it may help alleviate anxiety and sleeplessness.