Whether you’re suffering from short term sleep deprivation or long term insomnia, you can use music to help you sleep better. The right music can help you to get to sleep faster and also help with the quality of your sleep. So, let’s take a look at which music is best for sleep, how long before you’ll get results and why this method works for insomnia.
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Sleep studies using music have been conducted on adults and children, men and women. And it has been found that everyone can benefit from using music to help improve sleep.
Best Music for Sleep and Relaxation
The best sleep music has between 60 – 80 beats per minute.
You should choose music that is familiar and preferably something without lyrics. Classical or acoustic music is often a good choice. You could also try jazz or folk songs.
Spotify recently identified British musician Ed Sheeran as the most popular singer on users’ sleep playlists.
If you’re looking for music in the 60 to 80 beats per minute category you might want to try Joni Mitchell or Miles Davis.
When you’re looking for music to help you sleep, it’s worth remembering that different music works for different people. For this reason it really is worth trying a few different genres and different songs within each.
You can also try music that is specifically made for helping you sleep. If you click on the image above you can hear some of the sample tracks of sleep music. At first you may not think that this synthesized type of music will appeal to you. But many people have found it works even when their taste in music is usually more towards an authentic instrumental sound like acoustic music on a guitar. The music featured above is available on CD, as an MP4 download or on Amazon streaming.
Whether you like familiar music or specifically designed sleep music, be sure to choose your music with a slow and steady rhythm. You don’t want anything too exciting. If a piece of music has an emotional connection for you, don’t use this on your bedtime playlist. Whether it’s a positive emotional reaction, or otherwise, you want to keep the music neutral in terms of your response to it.
How does this music work to help me sleep?
The reason for selecting music this way is because your heartrate heads towards 60 beats per minute when you’re going to sleep. By listening to sleep music that is close to 60 beats per minute you’re helping your body to get to that lower rate. This is why music can help you to get to sleep faster.
If you’re struggling to work out whether your favorite songs are close to 60 bpm, type in the name of the song at songbpm.com and it will tell you how many beats per minute.
Music is also known to act on the parasympathetic nervous system. In this way it helps you to relax without trying. This is why certain types of music are perfect at bedtime.
Personally, when I’m choosing the best music for sleep on my own playlist I try to keep the music separate from what I might listen to during the day.
I like to create an association between the music and my brain’s expectation for sleep. If I listen to the “sleep music” at other times of the day it doesn’t work as well for bedtime. This is something to keep in mind when you’re first trying music to help you sleep in the first 21 days.
How Long Does it Take for Music to Help Sleep?
You should start listening to your sleep music when you’re going to bed. Use a timer and set the music to turn off around 15 to 45 minutes after you go to bed. It depends on how long it takes for you to fall asleep. You don’t want to leave the music on all night because it could wake you up later, unexpectedly.
If your music is not getting you to sleep within 15 to 45 minutes then it’s worth trying different music another night.
It is often said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. You should try using sleep music at bedtime for at least 3 weeks to give it a chance. If you’re trying different types of music during this time you may want to keep trying for longer, until you find the best sleep music that suits you.
Benefits of Using Music to Help You Sleep
Studies have shown that using music for sleep results in longer REM sleep time. REM is the restorative stage of sleep. This means you’ll not only get to sleep faster using music but you’ll also get better quality sleep.
Another benefit is that music doesn’t have side-effects (as long as you avoid emotionally responsive music!) If you’re suffering from insomnia you can easily try music as a natural remedy at home.
It doesn’t cost much and you can keep trying different types of music without it costing a lot if the first music doesn’t work. You haven’t wasted a fortune.
Another benefit is that you can try sleep music at the same time as trying other natural remedies for insomnia. You may be trying aromatherapy, sleep-inducing foods or vitamin supplements at the same time as trying music to help you sleep because there are no interactions. One of the best things about using music is that there are no side effects to worry about (sleepfoundation.org).
If you’re sleep deprived and you don’t know where to start, music is easy. Even if you get it wrong, just try another song.
7 Simple Steps to Use Music to Help You Sleep
- Choose music you like
- Choose music that’s 60-80 beats per minutes (try classical, jazz, acoustic or folk)
- Avoid music that has an emotional connection for you or is too exciting or changes tempo
- Start listening to the music when you’re getting into bed
- Set the music to stop automatically after 15 to 45 minutes
- Try using music to help you sleep for at least 21 days
- If the music is not working for you, try a different type for several nights and keep changing it until you find what suits you
If you’ve never used music to help you sleep, you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make. It won’t work miracles after one night but it is worth trying for 21 days. Don’t expect too much too soon. Just go with the flow on this one. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised after a few days when you realize it’s working without even trying.
⇒ Want to know what food to avoid to help you sleep better? See them here.
⇒ Need some sleep-inducing foods to eat before bedtime? Try these.