We know that babies benefit from being rocked to sleep better as well
Researchers at the University of Geneva built a special one Bed that gently rocked the night.
They tested it on 1
The scientists said the rocking movement resulted in a prolonged period of slow brainwaves that led to deep sleep and improved their memory
The volunteers spent three nights in a sleep laboratory in Geneva: one to get used to to sleep there, one on a swing bed and the other on the same bed, but in a quiet position.
Electrodes picked up their brainwaves and found out that the period of deep sleep was prolonged by rocking.
Laurence Bayer, senior study author and researcher at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine, pointed out that the rocking movement was slow enough not to cause nausea.
"A hammock would probably not be that efficient, though people often feel like relaxing when they're in a hammock," she said.
"In our work, we test the effect of rocking in one night, but we have no idea if the effects will persist for a long time."
The researchers also found that adults could better remember each morning when sleeping on the swing bed.
Aurore Perrault, another faculty researcher, said, "To see if this also affects memory, we subjected our participants to memory tests: they had to study pairs of random words in the evening and wake up to them in the morning," she said.
"Here, too, the swings proved to be advantageous: The test results were much better after a night of motion than after a quiet night."
Rocking mice sleep faster
In a parallel study conducted by the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, it was examined how cages of mice can be gently weighed while sleeping.
It turned out that swings shortened the time they needed to fall asleep and prolonged the sleep time.
However, the quality of sleep did not appear to increase, as was the case in humans.
The study on mice has also shown that the vestibular system, the system that tells the brain when our head is moving, must function for the swings to take effect.
The researchers agreed that in the absence of widespread rocking beds, there is more research to find out how the results can help people with sleep disorders.
Prof. Sophie Schwartz, neuroscientist at UNIGE and author of the study, said the study explained why people fell asleep in trains and other vehicles.
"I was contacted by someone in America who works on a tall crane that moves gently all day," she said. "He told me he now understands why he sleeps so deeply during his afternoon nap."