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What Rocking Chairs May Do for Your Sleep

By Sandy Schroeder

Some of us never really gave up rocking chairs, but in the minds of many they are a pleasant memory in history. If you remember rocking a child to sleep, or just sitting and rocking on the porch on a summer night, you may be pleased to hear rocking is making a comeback.

I remember rocking my first son to sleep every night. Later, when my younger son had trouble sleeping, I found a swinging crib that worked miracles. The funniest part happened when I realized he was also tapping his foot to keep the crib moving!

New Rocking Sleep Research

Now The University of Geneva researchers in Switzerland are reporting new research on the benefits of rocking. They had already found swaying during a nap helped people drift off and sleep better.

Next they wanted to see the effects on brainwaves of rocking during sleep and the impact on memory. They recruited healthy young adults who were normal sleepers to sleep in their lab for three nights, with part using a swaying bed and part using an identical bed that did not move. The group using swaying beds fell asleep quicker and had more time in non-rapid eye movement in which sleep is deeper and brainwaves slow up.

Overall, they concluded rocking is good for sleep, as their swaying test group fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep all night.

Sleep and Memory

The researchers also found people did better on memory tests when they were rocked during sleep. They said swaying helps synchronize neural activity in the brain to affect short-term and long-term memory.

How to Make Rocking Work for You

If you want to test the rocking research you might try adding a rocker to your family room or patio, and check out the rocking beds that are available.

I have found I can wind down in the evening using a rocker instead of my usual couch or chairs. Your family might find them useful to slow down and relax too.

I have not tried a rocker when I am working, but it might be a good way to take a short break and a re-energizing nap. It might also help improve memory and be one more way to break up our long sitting sessions during work.

If you wake up a lot during the night, you might consider adding a rocker to your bedroom, or investing in a rocking bed.

In an era of nonstop motion, rockers may be a nice counterbalance for all of us. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mesa, Ariz. 

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