Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 12:31 pm

It’s easy to drift off in a hammock, and now research has found that this rocking motion may help you to sleep better and boost your memory…

It works for babies and now a new study has highlighted the benefits of a rocking motion for adults too.

Researchers found that rocking not only leads to better sleep, but it also boosts memory consolidation during sleep.

“Having a good night’s sleep means falling asleep rapidly and then staying asleep during the whole night,” says Laurence Bayer of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. “Our volunteers – even if they were all good sleepers – fell asleep more rapidly when rocked and had longer periods of deeper sleep associated with fewer arousals during the night. We thus show that rocking is good for sleep.”

Naps rock

In previous research, Bayer and his colleagues found that continuous rocking during a 45-minute nap helped people to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

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In the new study, led by Bayer and Sophie Schwartz, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 18 healthy young adults underwent sleep monitoring in a lab.

They then stayed two more nights – one sleeping on a gently rocking bed and the other sleeping on an identical bed that wasn’t moving.

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Deeper and sounder sleep

The study found that participants fell asleep faster while rocking.

Once asleep, participants also spent more time in non-rapid eye movement sleep, slept more deeply, and woke up less.

Memory test

To assess memory consolidation, participants studied word pairs.

The researchers then measured their accuracy in recalling those paired words in an evening session compared to the next morning when they woke up.

Researchers found that people did better on the morning test when they were rocked during sleep.

How rocking affects the brain

Further studies showed that rocking affects brain oscillations during sleep.

The rocking motion caused entrainment of specific brain oscillations of non-rapid eye movement sleep (slow oscillations and spindles). As a result, the continuous rocking motion helped to synchronise neural activity in the thalamo-cortical networks of the brain, which play an important role in both sleep and memory consolidation.

Source: Cell Press via

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