virtual dreamer

nextI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.

Nature Sound Machines

face in potato chipThe human brain is an amazing thing. It is able to innately comprehend patterns and rhythms it sees and hears in nature. It also has one special feature. The human brain will also try to apply pattern and meaning to things it does not understand at all. This is one of the prevailing thoughts behind the popularity of astrology. Over the centuries people have been connecting the dots of the stars in the night sky into the shape of a bear, big dipper or what-nots. Humans have taken these dot patterns and created a whole dot-science complete with predictions of the future written in parables to insure multiple vague interpretations and occasional accuracy. Further, the human brain also enjoys seeing famous figures in the discoloration of a potato chip. People who have a proclivity toward gambling might think they sense a pattern in the cards or on the video poker machine. This is all because the big human brain seeks order in a chaotic world.

The Problem with Nature Sound Machines

Nature sound machines, those clever little alarm clocks or big black boxes one can purchase online for varying amounts of money, are a nifty idea with one big drawback. The human mind, with it's innate ability for pattern recognition, quickly picks up on the looped audio tracks. Over the years I have purchased one or two of these devices myself. They are good... for a night or two. Then I would get bored and switch to crickets. Again good for a night or two. I finally understood that my brain wasn't buying into the looped audio. Looped sounds have a dripping faucet effect on me and, after awhile, you find yourself thinking 'here comes that same thunder clip again'. The recordings lose their 'specialness' as we become aware that the machine is spitting out the same 60 to 120 second audio clip over and over again.

We strive to create unique relaxation sounds here that , if nothing else, simulate an actual audio environment. We do not loop our recordings. It is not unusual for one of our recordings to have well over 100 individual audio clips contained within. One of the more recent dreamscapes, Amazon Nights, has over 150 audio components in a 45 minute recording.

I have played with the idea of creating a nature machine where the audio tracks are not digitally recorded but constructed individually. In other words, the numerous components of a thunder sound (tone, rate, length, rumble, volume, direction) are randomized and the audio output is a unique sound each and every time. Maybe The Virtual Sound Company will come up with a machine in the future but it will be unlike anything that has ever existed because looped audio just doesn't do it for me.

It could happen! (although it is probably not in the stars)

Comments? email me

Insomnia can be an indication of a serious underlying health condition. Our opinions are in no way intended to be taken as medical advice. If you feel your insomnia issue warrants it please seek the advice of a qualified physician.