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A Sound Night’s Sleep: Ultimate Lullabies, Love Drug or ‘Coloured’ Noise?

by AXA PPP healthcare(more info)

listed in sleep and insomnia, originally published in issue 246 - May 2018

Tired of tossing and turning each night trying to get to sleep? You’re not alone. And the effects the next day might go beyond simply yawning and feeling sluggish – it is estimated that sleep deprived workforces cost the UK economy £40 billion a year. This is forecasted to rise to £47 billion by 2030, due to loss of productivity.




According to AXA PPP healthcare’s third annual State of the Nation online survey with YouGov*, over half of us (54 per cent) struggle to get to sleep at night and 10 per cent of us experience insomnia. Once you have fallen to sleep, it’s actually not that easy to stay asleep. Research has shown 1 in 3 adults across the UK suffer from disrupted sleep, with Brits reportedly getting two hours less sleep a night than they did in the 1960s.

Many of us assume that a quiet, dark room is what is needed, but what if the answer lies elsewhere? Healthcare provider AXA PPP healthcare has been exploring new techniques that could be worth a try, including Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), human vs robot-created lullabies and different noise frequencies.


YouTube Videos:
Get to sleep using a Human Lullaby


Autonomous sensory meridian response ASMR videos are a huge YouTube trend, yet many people have never heard of this unique technique. ASMR is predominately focused on high definition sounds such as whispering. Some people find it creates a tingling sensation which induces relaxation. AXA PPP healthcare collaborated with ASMRtist WhispersRed to remaster a track, creating a new night sound. Listen to the track and see if ASMR can help you to get some shut eye.




If ASMR doesn’t work for you, how about a lullaby? No longer just for babies being rocked in their parents’ arms. The healthcare provider has produced two lullabies to be enjoyed by adults and children alike – one composed and played by humans, the other created by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine. Have a listen to see which sends you off to sleep.
Get to sleep using an Artificial Intelligence Lullaby


Or, how about trying ‘coloured’ noise frequencies? The notion of noise helping us to sleep may seem counterintuitive, but it can in fact help us to drift off if we find the type of sound that suits us best.  We travelled to three locations to record some different colours of sound frequencies for you to try: the peaceful Trwyn Llanbedrog beach in North Wales; one of London’s busiest overpasses; and the quietest place in the UK, Kielder Forest.

White noise is often described as a constant ‘shhh’ sound and works by reducing the difference between background sounds and a ‘peak’ sound, like a door slamming, giving you a better chance to sleep through it undisturbed. It has been associated with the sounds heard on Trwyn Llanbedrog beach in North Wales - the UK’s favourite coastal sound - perhaps due its hypnotic quality. A busy London overpass has been matched with pink noise frequencies. Pink noise is white noise with the bass turned up. As well as the rumble of traffic, rainstorms also have a pink noise frequency, which can help some people nod off to sleep. Brown noise is described as a deep, rolling rumble, similar to the sounds of the wind blowing through the trees in Kielder Forest, the quietest place in the UK. Brown noise is an even deeper version of pink noise; a deep, rolling rumble that can often go unnoticed. Find out which coloured noise will help you get some rest.

Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare, comments: “Finding it hard to fall asleep and then stay asleep is getting harder, especially as we all spend so much time in front of the disturbing light that comes from computer and phone screens when we should be switching off. We often tell children to get a good night’s sleep so they feel ready and refreshed the next day, but do we follow this advice ourselves? With so many sleep aids and techniques available it’s hard to know where to start. We’re all different so whether it’s ASMR, lullabies or coloured noise, it’s worth trying a variety to see what works for you.”

*Survey by YouGov on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare.  All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,094 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29–30 November, 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


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About AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced health insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its Health Services division. AXA PPP healthcare has been named Best Healthcare Provider at the Corporate Adviser Awards 2017, Moneyfacts 2016 Best Healthcare Service and Health Insurance Provider of the Year, the European Large Contact Centre of the Year (at the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards, 2015) and Best Customer Experience (in the Large Contact Centre category of the UK Customer Experience Awards 2015).


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