Sound Therapy: Your Fast Track Ticket To Deep Sleep!

Expert Advice

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If you’ve noticed a huge shift in your sleep patterns in the last year, you’re not alone. Doctors have dubbed it ‘coronasomnia’ — the surge of pandemic-induced stress and anxiety that’s put our quality of slumber in absolute ruins. details stress and sleep as having a ‘two-way relationship’, and London-based general practitioner, Dr. Tosin Ajayi-Sotubo (IG: @mindbodydoctor) agrees, explaining that “constant stress can lead to the body being in a prolonged state of alertness and this can impact your sleep quality and mood, and in turn, lead to further stress, causing a vicious cycle.”

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A little backstory on what inspired this piece — a few months ago, I was struggling with major sleep troubles. I tried every single natural sleep remedy in the book, from regular exercise, teas, and essential oils, but none of these sleep aids gave me the relaxation that I needed and your girl, sleep-deprived and all, was truly going through it. Then, a close friend suggested that I play healing frequencies on Spotify while I attempt to doze off — and holy sh*t, what a god-tier sleep session that was!

Online research shows that the sleep aid market is at its prime rn. And this can be seen in the growing popularity of apps like Headspace and Calm and the increasing use of streaming platforms like Spotify and Youtube as go-to sources for zen-inducing frequencies and loops.

As a sleep music first-timer, and after my first meditative slumber, I was left with tons of questions that needed answers — namely, ‘why is sound healing so damn powerful,’ and ‘we need to know more, NOW.’ So we slid into Farzana Ali’s DMs (IG: @thesoundtherapist). She’s a London-based sound therapy practitioner and the founder of The Sound Therapist, and she provides some pretty incredible insight on sound therapy. In our discussion, we explore the connection between sound and sleep, delve into the benefits of sound healing and frequencies, and also chat about sound baths going mainstream.

Get your notes (and sleep) apps ready, ’cause it’s a goodie!

Sound Therapy Benefits

Ali describes sound therapy as “a holistic treatment that uses sound, vibration, and different frequencies to put you into a deep state of meditation.” And when it comes to its therapeutic perks, there are plenty. “From feeling more relaxed, more rested and less anxious to improved sleep,” however, “there are other lesser-known benefits as well — for instance, [sound therapy can aid] with pain management and lower high blood pressure, too.”

The Origin of Sound Healing

While sound therapy may seem like an emerging or en vogue practice, the healing power of sound actually dates way back to ancient history. “Several ancient civilizations and indigenous populations have practiced sound healing in various guises with Pythagoras, in ancient Greece, recommending the use of sound as medicine back in 500BCE,” says Ali. “So while sound healing feels like a new practice, it’s actually something humans have done for a long time. Even today, many people already, instinctually, use sound and music to self-soothe anyway. Think about how you feel when you listen to your favorite song? Or how you might put on certain music to energize you before a night out? Or how calming it feels to listen to the sound of the rain against a window” — so essentially, it creates that same impression.

The Connection Between Sound Healing and Sleep

Ali deciphers sleeplessness as an inability to “switch off” or rest. “Our brain needs to know that we are safe to allow the body to switch off and fall asleep. In fact, just before we drift off, our brain switches into an alpha-dominant brainwave state. But if you’re anxious, constantly switched on, or have trouble getting into a restful state then your brain perceives that there could be a danger or a threat impending or nearby, and therefore you’re unable to switch into that alpha-dominant brainwave state.” This is when the beauty of sound healing comes in, which Ali describes as functioning “like a shortcut for your brain to reach an alpha-dominant state, without you having to do anything. And once you’re able to get into this relaxed state, it’s easier for you to drift off.”

The Magic of Healing Frequencies

The first thing that springs to mind when we think of ‘frequencies’ is spa days and the soul-soothing sounds that linger in the background. Frequencies — commonly known as Solfeggio frequencies — fall under the umbrella of sound healing as well, and these “use a set of sacred tones that produce even more positive effects on the body than any other sounds,” says Ali. For those who don’t know, Spotify has an amazing ‘Solfeggio Healing Frequencies’ playlist (click here) with a collection of THEE most relaxing (and slumber-inducing) meditative vibrations from anti-anxiety, emotional healing, and body regeneration frequencies to good vibes only miracle tones.

A Lowdown on Sound Baths

This year, we also saw the emerging trend of sound baths amongst celebrities. If you’re not familiar with sound baths, the practice involves creating soothing vibrations with one (or many) crystal or Tibetan singing bowls of different shapes and sizes. Ali reveals that “the sessions are called ‘sound baths’ since the sound is said to ‘wash over you.’ Group sessions tend to focus mainly on relaxation, but bespoke individual sessions include a self-reflective process where you can address any stress or anxiety.”

Celebrity devotees include Kendall Jenner, who recently shared a video of herself  ‘just vibrating and growing’ while SZA treated fans to an energy-rebalancing sound bath session on IG live last year.


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A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner)

Final Thoughts on The Growing Popularity of Sound Therapy

Ali believes sound healing is becoming more and more popular for three reasons: “Firstly, there’s more visibility with celebrity fans such as Madonna, Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner, to name a few, posting about it on social media. Secondly, is accessibility. Pretty much everyone can receive sound healing, and you don’t have to actively participate in a session either – simply lie down and listen. And lastly, these past 20 months have really shown us all how much we need to look after our mental health, so more people are looking at different ways that they can do that.”

Apps Worth Trying for a Stellar Snooze

Headspace and Calm” are two apps that get Dr. Tosin’s stamp of approval.

Have you guys delved into the sleep music trend? Let us know all about your experience below, and for the newbies…sweet dreams, sweeties!