Gentle Rocking Encourages Sleep

Need to take a short nap? Try a hammock.

The gentle rocking of a hammock could put you to sleep faster and let you sleep deeper, according to a new study by Swiss and French researchers.

Parents have long known that rocking will put a baby to sleep faster. Most nurseries have a rocking chair or a glider these days. But researchers wanted to know if rocking would help adults.

Apparently it can.

But the real surprise was in how rocking can encourage a deeper state of sleep, the researchers noted.

The study recruited 12 healthy male volunteers – none of which had a sleep disorder – to nap in a rocking bed or a stationary one. Each volunteer napped 45 minutes every day in the afternoon. The ones who slept in rocking beds fell asleep faster and slept longer in a deeper state of sleep called N2 sleep.

As many as one-third of Americans do not get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults sleep from seven to nine hours every night.

Poor sleep has been linked to weight gain, diabetes and depression.

The study was published in the June issue of Current Biology.

Sources: Cell Press, Current Biology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Sleep Foundation

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