If you asked me where I enjoy spending vacations, without hesitation I would respond, “the beach!” In fact, you might not even have an opportunity to complete your question. The answer is really that simple; my favorite vacation spot is the beach.
Growing up, my parents gifted our family with several vacations each year. We always went camping on Memorial Day weekend and for a week during the summer, and we always spent a week at the beach.
I love the beach! All of it! I love the smell of the sea air. I love to feel the water gently roll over my feet. Yes, my feet. I’m not adventurous enough to wade in the ocean much higher than my knees. Now, back to my list. I love the sand. Well, I actually don’t much care for sand sticking to my wet feet. Okay, aside from a layer of sand that must be dried in order to brush off my feet and scraped out from between my toes (yuck), I love the sand.
I love the sound of the waves washing against the shore… I especially love the sound of the waves. Sitting upon a drift log, I am content to watch the rhythmic motion of the water and listen to the roar of the ocean. I can lose track of time when doing so. The ocean is majestic, beautiful and calming.
Is it calming because I am on vacation? Because the sun is shining? Or is it the sound, itself? Why does the beach make me feel so relaxed? Can a sound be good for you?
Dr. Tomatis, through Sound Therapy International reports, “Some sounds are as good as two cups of coffee.” Two cups of coffee produces the opposite of relaxation for most people. The research further states,
“Anxiety is frequently the cause of poor sleep. Insomnia is caused by excessive cortical activity that cannot be stopped. Though Sound Therapy recharges the brain for activity during the day, it also has a calming effect, which enables the listener in nearly every case to slip easily and quickly into sleep. While the brain and the nervous system are stimulated by the sound, this results not in a hyperactive state but in a state of active serenity, which allows for deep rest. Sleeplessness due to anxiety can also be resolved.”
Vindication! My perception is true! The ocean is medically good for me!! As someone whose body harbors stress and manifests the accumulation in the form of anxiety, this research is great news. Maybe I need a prescription to spend more time at the beach. Hmm . . . likely not going to happen.
Maybe I can find a way to trick my brain into thinking I am at the ocean. I set out to conduct my own research. I learned there exists a wealth of sound therapies*, many options including the sounds of the ocean, and many that are free!
* Before you read any further, I must warn you, I am not a doctor and I do not play one on TV. If you have been diagnosed with a stress or anxiety disorder, seek your doctor’s advice as to your medical treatment. While the sounds of the ocean may help bring about more calm and better sleep, they may not be the only treatment you require. The resources following this statement have not been evaluated for medical accuracy and unless otherwise indicated, have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Here’s what I found!
11 hrs. Healing Sea – This video is just as the name suggests. Some kind stranger filmed eleven hours, eleven minutes, and eleven seconds of audio and video footage of the ocean in Ceredigion, Wales and posted it to YouTube for our benefit. The video is long enough to lull you to sleep and gently nudge you awake… eleven hours later!
8 HOURS of the Relaxing Sounds of Waves – Like the previous one, this video features audio and video footage of the beach. This film runs over eight hours and has notable seagull calls. You may or may not find the seagulls relaxing, but it does add to the realism.
I could go on and on! These two were my favorite, but YouTube hosts a treasure chest full of free videos composed of sounds of the ocean and other related sounds. These could make for decreased stress and anxiety during the day or night. If the ocean doesn’t float your boat (get it?), YouTube has mounds of other sound therapy choices for you. Use one of the links I have provided and sample related videos or simply conduct a search. I was impressed.
Phone Apps (free)
Relax Melodies – Featuring 52 sounds and outstanding reviews, this app has a sound for everyone. Set a timer to stop the sounds after you fall asleep and set an alarm to awake you from your restful slumber. You can blend up to twelve sounds at once to create the perfect sounds for you. Want to hear a storm at the beach with wind blowing through the chimes? You’ve got it! The variety and functionality, not to mention the cost – free – make this option a winner. I have this app loaded on my computer, but it is also available for iPhone, Apple Watch and Android.
Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep – This app is designed for Android and allows users to choose six different nature sounds including thunder, ocean sounds, jungle sounds, and water sounds. This app also receives rave reviews from users, and if you find more than fifty sound options overwhelming, you may appreciate the simplicity of this app.
Relaxing Sounds of Nature Lite – This app is billed as a 2 in 1 for both iPhone and iPad users. The experience consists of an audio library with 25 beautiful nature sounds and a soundboard with 35 sounds. Users mix a number of soundtracks to generate their own peaceful escape. More free downloads may be accessed through the highly rated app.
Relax Ocean Waves Sleep by Moz – All you need is your Android, some headphones, and this app to find your way to the ocean. This app offers one looping track to relax brain activity, a single focus for a single result.
As with the YouTube videos, many more apps are dedicated to reducing stress and anxiety and promoting restful sleep. The ones I selected received high ratings and featured ocean sounds.
If you dock your device nightly to charge, or work in a cell phone free environment, you may wish to invest in a sound machine. The machines plug in or use batteries to generate an assortment of “white noise” sounds. A variety of options exist, many that are affordable, and many with ocean sounds. Explore!!
Which video, app, or sound machine appealed to you most? Did you notice decreased stress or anxiety? Did you find a highly rated item that includes ocean sounds to add to our list? If so, share in the comments section.
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