it’s well known that Parents will cradle babies in their arms and gently rock them to get them to sleep peacefully. Recently, scientists at the University of Geneva in Switzerland found that "rocking" into sleep is just as effective for adults in improving sleep quality and improving memory.
The researchers recruited 18 healthy young adults to have their sleep monitored in the lab, with half sleeping in hammocks that rock gently and the other half in regular fixed beds.The results found that participants who slept in hammocks fell asleep an average of six minutes faster than those who slept in regular beds, spent more time in deep sleep throughout the night and woke up fewer times.
To test the effect of rocking to sleep on memory, the researchers asked participants in a second experiment to remember pairs of words the night before, and then tested how accurately they remembered them the next morning when they awoke.The results found that participants in the hammock group remembered 3.2 more words, on average, than those in the normal bed group.
Researchers say that since infancy, we have been rocking back and forth in our mothers' wombs.
Slight rocking controls the brain waves during sleep, helping to promote synchronous activity in the brain's thalamic and cortical neural networks, which play an important role in deep sleep and memory consolidation.This also explains why it's easier to fall asleep when in a moving car or train.Experts say the new findings could help people with insomnia and mood disorders treated with
rocking stimulation, and help older people who often suffer from sleep and memory problems.