Rocking movements make it easier to fall asleep

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Swinging to sleep makes it easier for adults to fall asleep

In the course of a study, scientists from the University of Geneva found that rocking movements also have an effect on the sleeping process in adults. By swinging and swaying, even adult people can fall asleep better and, above all, sleep through the night. According to a preliminary announcement of the study results, healthy deep sleep should also be promoted by the regular movements. Swinging could therefore help with sleep disorders.

Swinging movements facilitate falling asleep and staying asleep
Swiss researchers from the University of Geneva have brought astonishing results to light. According to a sleep study, rocking in a hammock, for example, can make it easier to fall asleep and enable a relaxing deep sleep phase. In order to arrive at this result, the researchers Michel Mühlethaler and Sophie Schwartz let a total of twelve male subjects take a short sleep of 45 minutes in adulthood. For this purpose, a bed was specially designed that either excludes any movement or enables easy rocking. In order to make comparisons, the bed was either vibrated slightly or kept still.

The adult participants were between 22 and 38 years of age. There was no diagnosed sleep disorder in any of the subjects. In addition, none of the subjects regularly took an afternoon nap or suffered from chronic fatigue. In order to facilitate falling asleep, the sleep laboratory was darkened and the noise level was kept at a low level. While the participants were sleeping, brain activity was measured using electroencephalography (EEG). The sleep researchers were able to observe typical sleep phases. These included 1. the phase of falling asleep, 2. the first light sleep, 3. deep sleep and 4. the so-called REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), in which the rapid eye movements often occur.

Rocking stimulates brain activity "In the experimental setup, all study participants who had been exposed to vibrations fell asleep faster," explained study leader and neuroscientist Dr. Mühletaler. The researchers were surprised by the fact that certain types of brain activity occurred. This included slow oscillations and sleep spindles. For example, these two types are associated with memory during sleep and deep sleep. In further scientific work, the researchers now want to find out whether the monotonously oscillating movements also enable longer sleep and whether the rocking movements can be used as part of a therapy for sleep disorders.

The swing movements in the sleep context have not yet been examined in more detail neurologically. However, according to the research team, it could be that the amygdala in the core area of ​​the brain is stimulated by the uniform weighing. This area of ​​the brain is said to have an extremely relaxing effect on the organism, which in turn plays an important role in regulating the sleep process. On the other hand, the rocking could also stimulate certain areas of the brain. This could create sleep spindles that prevent constant waking up. Either way, it could be shown that light rocking is not only useful for babies and toddlers as a sleep aid, but also for adults. The entire research results will be published tomorrow in the science magazine "Current Biology". (sb)

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