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Hearing relaxing words in sleep slows your heart down: Study

Researchers from the University of Liege and the University of Fribourg discovered the link between sensory input and sleep quality, emphasising the importance of considering bodily reactions in sleep research.

Rahul Pratyush Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: February 24, 2024 15:00 IST
Image Source : FREEPIK Study reveals how hearing relaxing words in sleep slows heart

Researchers at the GIGA - Centre of Research Cyclotron, University of Liege, have uncovered a fascinating link between the body's reaction to the external world and sleep quality. Collaborating with the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, they explored whether the body remains disconnected during sleep. Their focus was on how the heartbeat changes in response to auditory stimuli, particularly relaxing and neutral words.

In their study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, researchers found that hearing relaxing words during sleep led to a significant slowdown in cardiac activity, indicative of deeper sleep. This builds on previous research showing that such words increase deep sleep duration and overall sleep quality. These findings suggest that sensory input, even during sleep, can influence bodily functions and enhance relaxation.

The team, led by Matthieu Koroma and supported by Christina Schmidt and Athena Demertzi from the GIGA Cyclotron Research Center, expanded their investigation to analyze both brain and cardiac activity. They discovered that relaxing words not only increased deep sleep but also triggered a corresponding slowdown in heart activity, underscoring the interconnectedness of the brain and body during sleep.

"Most of sleep research focuses on the brain and rarely investigates bodily activity", said Dr. Schmidt. Dr. Demertzi further emphasized the connection between the brain and body, suggesting that both must be examined to fully comprehend how individuals perceive and react to their environment, even during sleep.

Dr Koroma advocated for open science principles, “We shared freely our methodology following the principles of Open Science hoping that the tools that helped to make this discovery will inspire other researchers to study the role played by the heart in other sleep functions."

This research sheds new light on the interaction between sensory input, cardiac activity, and sleep quality, highlighting the need for a holistic approach to sleep research that considers both brain and bodily responses.

(with ANI inputs)


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