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How Listening to Music Can Improve Your Sleep

by Bill Welles

Most people have an innate relationship with music. Even if you can’t read music, sing a tune, or play an instrument, we can all respond to the uplifting message in every rhythm and melody. The right song can get your body moving as you bob your head and tap your foot to the beat, or our favorite songs can unlock a cherished memory and lift us out of feelings of worry.  

World Day of Music is celebrated on June 21, and we wanted to take the chance to celebrate the art of music in all its forms. One form you may not have considered is how listening to music can improve your sleep. If you’re tossing and turning at night or struggling to fall asleep, unwinding with some of your favorite jams may be the key to deeper, restorative sleep.  

Sleep and Music  

World Day of Music is designed to encourage individuals to interact with all types of music, learn an instrument, or discover a new artist. Those are all positive things, but we think this day is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of sleep and music.  

Even adults can enjoy a soothing lullaby before bed, and a relaxation technique like listening to music is highly encouraged to help you unwind at night. You may not experience the benefits overnight, but listening to music at bedtime can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep during the night, and wake up feeling more energized in the morning. If you have a common sleep disorder, playing your favorite album can boost the quality and quantity of your sleep, as well.  

Everyone will have a slightly different reaction to listening to music before bed, but it is known that music will send calming signals to the brain, lower your heart rate, and slow your breathing so you can fall asleep gently and soundly.  

If you want to try it for yourself, choose soothing songs that you like, ideally with a slower rhythm of 60 to 80 beats per measure (BPM). You can search for sleep playlists or ambient sleep tones on any major streaming platform, and easy listening genres like classical, jazz, and folk music are best for slumber. 

father playing the guitar, singing lullaby for his sleeping daughter

Why Does Music Affect Sleep? 

We mentioned it briefly, but to analyze it even further, music contributes to relaxation by triggering our body’s autonomic nervous system. This natural system is what controls automatic or unconscious processes, including those within the heart, lungs, and digestive system. Music helps calm these parts of the automatic nervous system, which in turn, can lead to slower breathing, reduced blood pressure, and better sleep.  

Those who struggle with sleep often associate their bedroom or other sleeping environments as the cause of their sleep paralysis. Music is one way to counteract this and distract you from troubling thoughts or anxious behavior, all while promoting the physical and mental relaxation required to achieve a full eight hours of rest.  

If you live in a major city or on a crowded street, nighttime disturbances from cars, noisy next-door neighbors, or bright lights can impact sleep efficiency. If you continually spend most nights staring at the ceiling because of your sleep environment, music can help drown out the distractions and improve the length of your sleep each night.  

What Kind of Music Is Best for Sleep? 

We discussed a few genres of music that are known for their calming effects; however, the most significant sleep improvements come from a person’s musical preferences. You can curate a playlist with songs designed with sleep in mind, but the music you enjoy the most will help you wind down at bedtime regardless of the musical category.  

The more important aspect of listening to music before bed is the speed and tempo at which each song is played. 60 to 80 BPM is the recommendation because a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 BPM, so slower music will sync up well with your body and help relax you instead of charge you up.  

If you still feel you need help finding the right music services to improve your sleep, there are plenty of pre-packaged playlists for any activity, including sleep. It doesn’t need to be sleep-specific music, but your best bet will be finding songs like piano pieces where the tone focuses on calming effects.  

close up of persons hands playing the piano

Make Music Part of Your Sleep Routine   

If you plan to make music part of your nightly sleep routine, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:  

  • Make Music a Habit: Routine is vital for quality sleep. If you establish a nightly schedule, be sure to incorporate music in a consistent and calming way to allow your body enough time to unwind each night.   

  • Choose Enjoyable Songs: If you aren’t connecting with any of the pre-made sleep playlists, try making your own with a selection of songs you know you’ll enjoy. Experiment with different beats, tempos, and genres to find what works best for you. Do your best to avoid songs that trigger strong emotional reactions. Everyone needs a good cry every so often, but more positive or neutral music is beneficial for sleep.  

  • Be Wary of Headphones: If you fall asleep with the volume too high, headphones and earbuds can damage the ear canal. Sleeping with earbuds can also lead to a large buildup of wax inside your ears which can alter your hearing or potentially lead to ear infections. If possible, try playing music from a small portable speaker or even a record player if you can keep it near your bed. Avoid speakers with any lights or disruptive alerts, and select a volume that is soothing and not distracting.  

Vinyl playing on a record player 

Better Sleep Awaits  

If you’re celebrating World of Music Day, use this natural sleep aid to help you fall asleep fast and wake up ready to conquer the day. And if you’re looking for a more permanent sleep solution, it may be time to upgrade your mattress.  

Restless nights can be a direct cause of a worn-out mattress that no longer offers the comfort and support needed for a quality night’s sleep. If you’re ready to replace your mattress and experience the level of sleep you’ve been dreaming of, give us a call, browse our digital catalog, or visit us in person to shop our entire collection of mattresses, foundations, and sleep accessories.