A Swiss neurobiology group found that even adults’ sleep is induced by rocking using a computer device called an electroencephalogram or EEG.
The researchers demonstrated sleep patterns with the help of 18 volunteers. The volunteers were made to attach a small metal electrode discs on their scalps and recorded the activity of their brains using a computer device called an electroencephalogram or EEG. The team compared the sleep pattern of the group by allowing them to sleep on a bed, and the bed was rocking rhythmically the whole night at a slow speed for 8 hours. Again, they were made to sleep for 8 hours but this time with no rocking and their EEG recorded.
During the experiment, the researchers made sure all other factors such as environment conditions remained same. The team then studies the effects of rocking on sensory processing of the brain. Comparison of the brain waves revealed that rocking promoted the volunteers falling asleep sooner, sleep more deeply and wake up less frequently.
The team observed that during rocking, the EEG pattern showed slow oscillations, where rapid eye movement does not take place, thus promoting deep sleep. Humans sleep occurs in two ways: REM phase, where rapid eye movement occurs during sleep and other NREM, where REM does not occur. Most dreams occur during REM sleep and it is thought to play a role in memory, mood, and learning
The researchers analyzed that the volunteers performed better in the test when they slept on rocking beds than when they slept on still bed. Furthermore, the researchers wanted to know whether rocking promotes sleep in other mammals too. They experimented to chek the sleep patterns in mice by placing electrodes on their heads and monitored the EEG. They concluded that mice needed a faster rocking rate than us humans, but otherwise behaved the same way as humans do.