Music soothes the savage beast, no further from the truth. Soothing and relaxing music can play a big part in helping people who have sleeping disorders like insomnia get the sleep they need. This is what 35 women found out in a research comparing sleep-inducing songs from Mozart to Coldplay conducted by the Mindlab Institute. What they discovered was the best music for sleep and relaxation. A specific track which made all of them especially sleepy. More on that later.
Lullabies are not merely for babies, they are ideal for adults as well. Listening to relaxing music to wind down before bedtime sleep every night is the best relaxation method and highly encouraged too.
The advantages of listening to music before bedtime might not happen overnight. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to notice any improvement but it pays off beautifully. Playing soothing music helps you to sleep faster and better, you wake up lesser during the night and feel more rested in the morning. It can help people of all ages, babies to older folks, regardless for an afternoon nap or nighttime sleep, perfect for any lifestyle.
How Does Music Help with Sleep and Relaxation?
There is something in music that has the soothing effect that a good song can have. Music can also trigger feel-good chemicals in your brain. The actual explanations of why music can help sleep better are not very clear but it is able to have real physical impact by slowing down your breathing and lowering your heart rate.
For thousands of years and across many cultures, music was used in healing cermonies throughout history. Scientists discovered that study participants that listened to music for half an hour to 45 minutes before bed each night for 3 months fell asleep faster, slept better, and felt much better the following morning. Interestingly, the songs they listened to were set at tempos between 60 to 80 beats per minute which is our approximate pulse rate when dropping off to sleep.
By tricking your body into a relax mood by syncing the heart beat with music, you are actually meditating with the music. Your heart rate slows, and your mind listens to your surroundings, your blood pressure drops, and your anxiety dimenishes. Life becomes a peaceful song.
What Kinds of Music Helps?
Slower music with slower beats or melodies can have a biological impact on your body. A study published in the Journal of Hypertension in 2010 confirmed that specific songs help to slow down the breathing and heart rates which then slows down your brain activity. When your pulse rate slow downs, your brain activity also follows suit. This way it puts you in a relaxed state which is important for sleep.
Different types of music affect everyone differently. As such, your bedtime music is a matter of individual taste. Think about this as you add to your bedtime playlist as you might not have what you need. Any music you listen to when you exercise or a pick-me-up is the total opposite of bedtime music for sleep. So if you listen to certain types or artists when are attempting to remain alert while working out or driving, you are associating subconsciously that particular music with alertness.
What about Classical Music?
Listening to calming classical music has been proven by research in the Journal of Advanced Nursing to assist individuals with sleep issues improve the quality of their sleep, remember the main thing here is to relax. Classical music can be tricky and tend to have much broader dynamic range than electronic, pop, jazz and other types of music, therefore the volume difference between the loudest and softest components are a lot more apparent. A classical song which is soft for 90% of the duration can get loud for the remaining 10% and will not benefit a bedtime sleep playlist.
Examples of Music for Relaxation and Sleep
Now at the begining of this article, I mentioned the research done by the Mindlab Institute involving 35 women. When they were put through a bunch of songs, one particlar track stood out that made all of them extra sleepy. It was the track called “Weightless” by British band Marconi Union. It was produced in cooperation with sound therapists and was specially designed to lessen blood pressure, stress and resting heart rates. All beautifully composed harmonies featuring the piano, guitar, and samples of natural soundscapes.
This specific song helps to decreases blood levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone and reduce the overall blood pressure, as reported by the Mindlab Institution. The researchers recorded a decrease in over 65% in overall anxiety.
“Weightless” is probably the “most relaxing song ever” as what the British Academy of Sound Therapy calls it. Time Magazine named it one of the best songs of the year. More than 6 million have tuned in since its release on SoundCloud. Take a listen to the track below.
Go for relaxing songs that you like, particularly those which have a gradual rhythm of 60 to 80 BPM. Recently the music streaming service Spotify released a poll of its users’ sleep playlists for the top 20 bedtime songs. What they found out was that the British singer Ed Sheeran’s songs are presently the most popular artist to sleep to.
Google Play Music is also an alternative with over 50 sleep playlists. The hottest playlist include:
- Acoustic Bedtime
- Classical for Sleeping
- Sleepytime Indie
- Ladies Serenading You to Sleep
- Drift off
Some songs are instrumental with no lyrics, perfect for sleeping to relaxing audio. This playlist has been made sure by the music curators to not include drums unless they are brushed drums very similar in “Come Away with Me” by Nora Jones.
Experiment with songs to see what works right for you. Easy listening selections like folk or classical works well too with familiar ones. To check the BPM or beats per minute of a certain song, goto songbpm.com and enter the song title and the name of the artist. You can also try listening to a song and timing it with a stopwatch. So a 60PBM song is exactly 1 beat per second. Once you have fine tuned your playlist, get ready for some serious sleep time.
Mindlab Institution additionally concluded that these 10 tracks to be the best in reducing anxiety and stress.
- “Weightless” by Marconi Union
- “Electra” by Airstream
- “Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)” by DJ Shah
- “Watermark” by Enya
- “Strawberry Swing” by Coldplay
- “Please Don’t Go” by Barcelona
- “Pure Shores” by All Saints
- “Someone Like You” by Adele
- “Canzonetta Sull’aria” by Mozart
- “We Can Fly” by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)