Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

A 2013 study has shown that silence might be more important to our brains than we think. If that’s the case, I need to find a moment of quiet- stat! I don’t know about you all but finding quiet in the day is not easy.

Published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function a study was done with mice where they used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on their brains. The researchers intended for the silence to be the control in the study but they found something very interesting instead. They discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence, per day, they developed new cells in the hippocampus (the region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning).

While the growth of new cells in the brain doesn’t necessarily equal health benefits, in this instance, the cells appeared to become functioning neurons. It appeared that silence was literally growing their brains. And this seemed to match with a 2001 study showing a “default mode” of brain function; even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information. When we aren’t distracted by noise, or goal-orientated tasks, the quiet allows our brains to process things better. During those times of silence we are able to think about profound things in a more imaginative way.

From the Life Hack article:
“It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.
A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech.
The effects that noise pollution have on your stress levels and cognitive task performance has been extensively studied; noise harms task performance at work and school and can be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making, with noise affecting reading attention, memory and problem solving, the most.

But take heart, find a space with quiet, a place with lower levels of sensory input, and your brain will respond by “recovering” some of its cognitive abilities. In those moments of silence, the brain is able to let down its guard and get back what was lost in all that noise. The quiet settles your stress levels and lowers your blood pressure. Ahhh…

Hmmm…now all I have to do is find a moment to stop, sit, and be still.

Source: Life Hack

This article was republished from healthnutnews.com.