Many parents have experienced that rocking their babies can make the infant sleep faster. Now there is evidence why it works. A recent study shows that rocking motion induces better sleep and improves the memory, even in adults.

A study conducted on young adults, published in the journal Current Biology, suggest that there are several benefits of a rocking motion during sleep. The study led by Laurence Bayer and Sophie Schwartz from the University of Geneva in Switzerland explored the effects of rocking on sleep and its associated brain waves through the night. The study was conducted on 18 participants, in which they were assessed over three nights. The first night to get used to sleeping in the labs, after which they slept one night on a motionless bed and another night on an identical, though gently rocking, bed.

‘Our volunteers... fell asleep more rapidly when rocked and had longer periods of deeper sleep associated with fewer arousals during the night,’ says Bayer.

Researchers suggest that the benefits of rocking on sleep are because of the rhythmic stimulation of the vestibular system that contributes to the sense of balance and spatial orientation.