Benefits of music for sleep
If you’re seeking ways to improve your sleep, music is a great option. Playing music while you sleep is beneficial as long as you follow some key guidelines. Learn what you need to know about improving your sleep with music.
You can take your mind off of your everyday thoughts and stresses by playing music. When you listen to music it’s easy to relax and feel at ease. When you add music to your evening routine, it may help clear your mind, so you can fall asleep more easily.
Research shows that children of all ages, including premature infants, sleep better after they listen to soothing music. One study showed that listening to music for 45 minutes before bed improved sleep for adults.
Less time to fall asleep. Many people struggle to transition from being awake to asleep. One study followed participants as they listened to music for ten nights in a row. Before adding music to their nightly routine, it took between 27 and 69 minutes to fall asleep. After adding music, participants reported that they fell asleep within 6 to 13 minutes.
Improved sleep quality. Good sleep isn’t just about falling asleep quickly. It’s also about staying asleep and getting consistent rest each night. Playing music can improve your sleep efficiency. This means you get better quality sleep and don’t wake up as often.
Hormone regulation. Studies show that music reduces the number of stress hormones in your body. If you have a lot of things on your mind, you may have higher cortisol levels. By listening to music before bed, you can reduce these hormones and have a better chance to get a good night’s sleep.
At the same time, music triggers your body to release dopamine, a hormone that makes you feel good. Your body naturally releases dopamine during activities like eating, exercising, and sex. Higher dopamine levels after listening to music may help put your mind at ease before bed.
Nervous system. Music calms the parts of your nervous system in charge of unconscious processes. This includes your heart, lungs, and digestive system. When your autonomic nervous system is calm, your heartbeat and breathing slow, and your blood pressure goes down.
Reducing other sounds. Depending on where you live, the area around your home may be noisy. You may struggle to sleep if you can hear traffic, neighbors, and animals or bugs outside. Music helps to drown out these sounds and offer a soothing alternative.
Tips for music at bedtime
Choose soothing music. The type of music you play has a significant role in your quality of sleep. You have to create a playlist of songs that induces a sense of calm. Music is measured in beats per minute. Choosing songs with a tempo between 60 and 80 beats per minute is ideal for good sleep.
If you don’t want to create your own playlist, search for one online or in your phone’s app store. You can learn about genres of music that are calming, like classical and piano music. Songs with soft, slow lyrics are also great for improving sleep.
Avoid headphones. Play music using a device or speakers instead of headphones. Earbuds and headphones may damage your ear canal if the volume is too high. They can also lead to more earwax, increasing your risk for ear infections. You also run the risk of damaging your headphones or earbuds if you move around in your sleep.
Other tips for improving sleep
Create a routine. When you have a bedtime routine, your body and mind know what to expect. This reduces stress and provides a sense of comfort. Allow plenty of time for your body to wind down and relax before you go to sleep. Incorporate music as part of your routine each night.
Watch what you eat and drink. If you eat too much close to bedtime, you may not sleep as well. You can also avoid caffeine and nicotine close to when you want to go to sleep. For best sleep, you can cut caffeine and nicotine completely. If you can’t cut them out completely, limit your caffeine to two servings each day and don’t drink any caffeine after lunchtime.
Turn off screens. Watching TV or looking at your phone too close to bed can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms. Commit to eliminating screen time an hour before you go to bed as a way to improve sleep.
You can take it a step further by removing electronics from your bedroom completely. Treat your bedroom as a place to sleep and have sex – nothing else. Don’t eat, work on your computer, or watch TV in your bed.
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AASM: "Can music help you sleep better?"
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Sleep Foundation: "Can Music Help You Fall Asleep?"