What Is the Best Music to Listen to When Sleeping?

Reviewed on 3/19/2021

Music to sleep to

As per studies, slow music or classical music is more relaxing that can help you sleep.
As per studies, slow music or classical music is more relaxing that can help you sleep.

As per studies, slow music or classical music is more relaxing that can help you sleep. Classical music or instrumental music can help slow the pulse and decrease levels of stress hormones. Relaxing music triggers changes to the body and, in many ways, mimics a sleepy state. A slower heart rate, slower breathing, and lower blood pressure are all physiological changes that make the process of falling asleep and staying asleep possible. Music also has a soothing effect, helps tune out the thoughts, and eases stress and anxiety. Listening to music that relaxes you before bed is essentially helping your body to tune to sleep mode, both physically and psychologically.

Relaxing music:

  • Relaxing music may soothe anxiety and quiet a racing mind, which usually causes sleep disorders.
  • Scientists have found that listening to classical music at bedtime helped improve sleep quality in young adults with sleep problems.
  • The National Sleep Foundation recommends choosing soothing songs with slow rhythms, between 60 to 80 beats per minute.

Nature sounds:

  • Listening to the sounds of nature to help you sleep is one easy way to connect with nature.
  • Sound machines and apps for sleep are filled with noises of the woods and wilderness, and there is a scientific reason that nature sounds induce sleep.
  • Researchers found that nature’s sounds led to more outward-focused attention in the brain, rather than inward-focused. Inward-focused attention is associated with states of anxiety, stress, and depression, all of which can be antithetical to sleep.
  • Researchers also found that nervous systems moved toward a more relaxed, restive mode after listening to recordings from nature, such as wind blowing, crickets chirping, and flutter of wings.

Water sounds:

  • Whether it is the light patter of a rain shower or the steady flow of a running stream, many types of water sounds can be deeply relaxing.
  • The key is the relatively gentle, gradual variations in the intensity of moving water sounds. This counteracts sudden, abrupt noises that easily awaken people, even if they’re not very loud.

Ocean waves:

  • It is no surprise that ocean waves are a popular choice for soothing sleep sounds.
  • For many, the rhythmic crashing of water onto sand and rock can be quite calming. By creating a mental state of relaxation, contentment, and gentle focus, the wave sound can be deeply relaxing.
  • The sound of the ocean is helpful because it is the sound of non-threats.

White noise:

  • White noise is a mixture of all sound frequencies at once, at the same level of intensity.
  • White noise provides an even, steady stream of sound.
  • In a study published in The Journal of Sleep Medicine, researchers at Brown University Medical School reported patients in a hospital intensive care unit were awakened less frequently during the night with white noise present because it decreased the difference between background noise and the “peak” noises that punctuated the hospital’s noise environment.

Pink noise:

  • Pink noise creates a balance of high- and low-frequency sounds that mimic many sounds found in nature.
  • People exposed to pink noise during sleep spend more time in deep, slow-wave sleep, according to a study published in The Journal of Theoretical Biology. 
  • Researchers also found that pink noise exposure at night led to better memory recall.

Sounds that relaxes:

  • The response to sound highly varies with people, in both the waking and sleeping lives. Like sight and smell, the sound is connected to memory and can stimulate both positive and negative emotions. The emotional state also affects how you process sound.
  • The experts at the National Sleep Foundation suggest paying close attention to what truly relaxes you. Breaking ocean waves might keep you alert for the next crash of water hitting land whereas a steady waterfall soothes you right to sleep.
  • Try out different sounds for a few nights at a time and observe how your mind and body respond to the noise.
  • If it is stimulating, raising your heart rate, making you tap your toes, and/or filling you with energy or a strong emotional reaction, keep searching for the soothing sleep sounds that are right for you.
  • Also, make sure your bedroom is optimized for good sleep using these tips to create a more relaxing sleep experience.

Try to sleep better, longer, and with fewer disturbances by listening to music at bedtime. Listen to music that beats like your heart. Researchers found that people who listened to music for 30-45 minutes before bed every night for 3 months fell asleep more quickly, slept more deeply, and felt more rested the next morning. These songs featured tempos between 60 and 80 beats per minute, which is happen to be the approximate heart rate when we fall asleep.

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References
Barnett B. Can Music Help Me Sleep? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/can-music-help-me-sleep#

Trahan T, Durrant SJ, M├╝llensiefen D, Williamson VJ. The Music That Helps People Sleep and the Reasons They Believe It Works: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Online Survey Reports. PLoS One. 2018;13(11):e0206531. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6235300/

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