Close your eyes and imagine a calm, relaxing scene. What can you hear? Maybe the gentle patter of rain, a rumble of thunder, damp mud squelching, the distant gunfire of WWI fighter planes… No, you haven’t switched your ‘goodnight’ mix to your ‘zombie outbreak’ playlist. Some people really are using ‘battlefield ambience’ to get to sleep.

If ‘trench warfare’ isn’t what springs to mind when you hear the word ‘relaxation’, you’d be just as surprised as TikTok user blusoho when she discovered her husband snoozing to the sounds of warfare. Even the best mattress couldn’t help most of us drift off with this kind of racket in the background. But while this viral video has shocked a corner of the internet, there is some logic to this unexpected sleep routine.

@blusoho

Like how???? 😭😭

♬ original sound – blusoho

The repetitive rumbling that defines many of these warfare ambience videos bears some similarity to more traditional white noise. Add on a calming sense of familiarity – thanks to a childhood playing video games – and you have one of the most surprisingly popular sleep trends (‘battlefield ambience’ turns up pages of hits on YouTube). Let’s dive into just what’s going on when you turn off the lights and turn up the trench warfare…

Why might battlefield ambience help anyone sleep?

When it comes to winding down for bed, we tend to choose activities that are relaxing and familiar. Admittedly, for most of us, those terms don’t describe the noise of a WWI battle. But they do bring to mind snuggling up with familiar book and the gentle music from your childhood bedtime routine. And while it sounds strange, this is largely what’s happening for those who enjoy battlefield ambience. 

Speaking to Newsweek, blusoho, creator of the viral TikTok that exposed the trend, explains that her husband played video games as a child. War games, specifically. When he boots up ‘WWI Distant Battle Ambience’, it doesn’t make him think of war. Instead, it reminds him of cozy days in his childhood home – a much more relaxing thought. 

I could see the logic behind this, but at first I wasn’t quite convinced that any amount of happy associations could make battlefield ambience relaxing. Then I gave it a listen. And to be perfectly honest, I kind of get it. While I won’t be playing this one before bed, the repetitive, rumbling sounds are more cinematic than scary. There was even some heavy rainfall – one of the favorite white noise sounds for sleep. If I hadn’t known it was battle ambience going in, I might have thought it was a thunderstorm in a busy city. 

All kinds of sounds can be relaxing before bed, from persistent rainfall to sizzling bacon, and what works for one person might not for another. I can’t sleep to birdsong, as I discovered when I tested the Groov-e Serenity Sound Machine, but others find endless tweeting and chirping can get them snoozing. And while I was never one for fighter games as a kid, the Crash Bandicoot soundtrack has an unexpected soporific effect. So perhaps it’s not that surprising that the boom-bang-blast of a turn of the century battlefield signals relaxation to some.

Which means next time you’re struggling to sleep, instead of asking yourself ‘what’s a relaxing thing to do?’, think about what’s the familiar thing to do. You never know, you might find that Dinosaur Forest or Zombie Apocalypse is just what you need to get snoring again. 

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