Music to help sleep: does sleeping music really work?

September 29, 2020 3 mins read
Music to help sleep: does sleeping music really work?

Can you use music to help sleep? Could it be the soundtrack to your best night’s rest?

You know the drill, your head hits the pillow but your mind goes into overdrive. Whether it’s the sound of silence (and we don’t mean the Simon and Garfunkel song) that’s keeping you awake or your bed partner “singing” their own snoring tune, there’s music to help you sleep that could be the answer to better quality shut-eye.

But what about that rule of no screens before bed? We’ll submit this as an exception if you promise not to divert your attention to social media. Using your phone to help guide you into the sleep zone through simple, soothing beats is where we draw the line.

So, let’s turn down the volume (around 50 or 60 decibels is best) and get you dozing in no time.

What is sleep music?

Sleep music is designed to help you sleep by creating a soothing baseline of sound without too much variation. Its aim is to mask exterior sounds helping you fall asleep faster and sleep better. According to the Sleep Foundation, our brains become a lot more sensitive to noises when we sleep, meaning that any sound that goes bump in the night can wake us.

Fun fact: music has been used as a healing therapy for most of human history. Ancient Arabic cultures had musicians working alongside physicians. The Greeks used music to treat mental illness. And after WWII, musicians were brought into hospitals to aid the healing of soldiers’ physical and emotional trauma. So there is definitely power (and fact) behind a good tune.

What are the benefits of sleep music?

Simply, music helps relax the body and mind. Listening to relaxing music before bed triggers physiological changes in your body to mimic a sleep state; slowing your heart rate, steadying your breathing, and lowering your blood pressure.

If you have depression, anxiety, stress or other emotional and psychological problems, you’re probably aware of how these can interfere with your sleep. Listening to sleep music can help relieve stress, improve your mood, and motivate you by activating and influencing the emotional and memory centres of our brain. So whether it’s to improve your sleep or get moving, turn up the music.

What is the best type of music to help sleep?

When it comes to selecting the right track for sleep, choose beats that will signal to your brain that it’s time for lights out. Slow tunes are ideal (yes, it might seem obvious but depending on your musical preference we need to be clear), so opt for a rhythm of about 60 to 80 beats per minute (BPM).

Music to avoid? Anything that makes you feel strong emotions. Whether it’s excitement or sadness, save that upbeat rave for your morning commute and avoid those emotional breakup songs. Those are not the tunes that will send you off to sleep (even worse, they could add to your sleep deprivation).

Whether you prefer white noise with harmonical tunes or the sounds of nature, there’s something for everyone to fall asleep to. Whatever makes you feel calmed, soothed, relaxed, and puts your body and mind in a restful mode, is the right choice for a good’s night’s sleep.

The overall effect? Healthy sleep; the sound of your head resting on your pillow.