Can Music Help You Fall Asleep
Parents know from experience that lullabies and gentle rhythms can help babies to fall asleep. Science supports this common observation, showing that children of all ages, from premature infants to elementary school children, sleep better after listening to soothing melodies.
Fortunately, children arent the only ones who can benefit from lullabies before bedtime. People across age groups report better sleep quality after listening to calming music.
In one study, adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before going to sleep reported having better sleep quality beginning on the very first night. Even more encouraging is that this benefit appears to have a cumulative effect with study participants reporting better sleep the more often they incorporated music into their nightly routine.
Using music can also decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. In a study of women with symptoms of insomnia, participants played a self-selected album when getting into bed for 10 consecutive nights. Before adding music to their evening routine it took participants from 27 to 69 minutes to fall asleep, after adding music it only took 6 to 13 minutes.
In addition to facilitating quickly falling asleep and improving sleep quality, playing music before bed can improve sleep efficiency, which means more time that you are in bed is actually spent sleeping. Improved sleep efficiency equals more consistent rest and less waking up during the night.
Modern Lullaby: Can Music Help You Sleep
Music and sleep have been intertwined as far back as 2000 B.C. Lullabies are commonplace in almost everyones early years, dating back to the ancient civilization of Babylon where the first recorded instances of these songs to lull babes to sleep are found. Returning our focus to the modern age, most humans can relate to the sensation of being cradled to sleep accompanied by a soothing song, so its no wonder that the practice of listening to music at bedtime finds itself upheld by adults who have long outgrown the crib. Music is commonly used as a technique to help anxiety but does it really help you fall and stay asleep?
Can Music Help with Falling Asleep?
The short answer is yes. There are a number of studies that suggest acute increases in sleep quality when listening to relaxing music. In a meta-analysis of 10 different sleep studies, results supported the case for music intervention as a reliable sleep-therapy option. However, the results are not always so black and white. One survey questioned 651 Americans on sleep habits, their music preferences and whether they used music for sleep aid. Of those questioned, 62% claimed that they used music to fall asleep although a large variety of music genres were reported. This suggests that although one would expect music such as classical pieces to be most effective in relaxing the mind, a subjects preferred genre can prove to be just as useful.
Can Music Help with Staying Asleep?
Music and Depression
What Happens If You Go To Sleep Listening To Music
Studies have proved that sleeping with your earphones while listening to music is a health risk and could cause permanent damage. Skin necrosis, Hearing loss, and built-up earwax are a few of the side effects that could happen when you are plugged in.The solution is to sleep with very soft music or a natural sound of nature on a low volume. Headphones should not be worn for prolonged periods of time while sleeping.As long as you choose songs that make you feel happy and relaxed, falling asleep to soft music can help you fall asleep faster and get better sleep. It is similar to when we were children, and our parents sang us lullabies to lull us to sleep.
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Facilitates Deeper And Longer Sleep
If you like to take afternoon naps, its possible you need a deeper sleep in a short period.
Or maybe you have a busy night schedule and so have only a few hours to sleep. In any of these cases, deep sleep is important for you.
Listening to music while sleeping can be a powerful way to fall into a deep sleep.
In one study, researchers looked into the effect of sedative music on the sleep cycle.
Researchers enrolled 24 young adults and observed their sleep patterns. So for two nights in a row, researchers assigned participants to two groups in a random way.
One group listened to sedative music composed by certified music therapists for the first hour the participant was in bed. The other group didnt listen to any music.
The results showed that sedative music improved the quality of sleep by prolonging the duration of deep sleep.
Also, music provides an alternative and noninvasive way to improve sleep. This really helps if you experience sleep problems.
But thats not all.
Another study in the Journal of Music Therapy found something fascinating. Turns out people who listened to background music had significant improvement in sleep duration over time.
Indeed, 66.7 percent of those participants who listened to music slept longer hours.
They had more than 7 hours of sleep per night. So if you want to lose yourself in deep sleep, listening to music while sleeping can help.
Why Does Music Affect Sleep
The ability to hear music depends on a series of steps that convert sound waves coming into the ear into electrical signals in the brain. As the brain interprets these sounds, a cascade of physical effects are triggered within the body. Many of these effects either directly promote sleep or reduce issues that interfere with sleep.
Several studies suggest that music enhances sleep because of its effects on the regulation of hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol. Being stressed and having elevated levels of cortisol can increase alertness and lead to poor sleep. Listening to music , which may explain why it helps put people at ease and release stress.
Music triggers the release of dopamine, a hormone released during pleasurable activities, like eating, exercise, and sex. This release can boost good feelings at bedtime and address pain, another common cause of sleep issues. Physical and psychological responses to music are effective in reducing both acute and chronic physical pain.
Listening to music can also contribute to relaxation by soothing the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is part of your bodys natural system for controlling automatic or unconscious processes, including those within the heart, lungs, and digestive system. Music improves sleep through calming parts of the autonomic nervous system, leading to slower breathing, lower heart rate, and reduced blood pressure.
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How Does Music Help You Fall Asleep
To fall asleep easily, you need to feel calm and relaxed. Your breathing and heart rate need to slow down.
According to scientists, 60 bpm is an ideal heart rate for sleeping .
Many classical songs follow a 60 bpm rhythm. When you listen to this type of music, your heart can eventually match this beat and start beating at 60 bpm – the exact amount recommended by scientists.
So, listening to relaxing music can slow your heart rate, which helps you fall asleep. But what else can it do?
Certain music causes your brain to release hormones that help you relax. Remember, feeling relaxed and calm are two key parts of falling asleep easily.
Calming music can also help people with a sleeping disorder. Falling asleep to relaxing sounds can help you sleep better and longer.
Keep in mind that you shouldnt fall asleep with earbuds. While you are sleeping, the earbuds might shift and could lead to ear damage. Instead, use pillowcase or room speakers, or even invest in sleepphones, to play the music.
Pillowcase speakers attach to the top or bottom of your pillow. These allow you to listen to music without bothering anyone else or hurting your ears. Lay on your pillow with your ear against the speaker and get ready to drift off to sleep.
Musical Features To Aid Sleep
The study revealed music that aided sleep had more emphasis in lower frequencies such as a stronger bass, had a slow and sustained duration of musical notes, and had non-danceable rhythms.
In music terms, the music had quite a dark mix, it was legato, and was not complex or strong in rhythmic activity, Mr Dickson says.
The research also suggests its not just classical music or lullabies that can help people sleep. In fact, individuals can fall asleep to a wide variety of music genres.
Based on the findings of the study, we have evidence that the musical features we uncovered appeared to be more important than the genre in aiding sleep, he says.
The list of songs successful in aiding sleep share similar musical features. Image: Supplied.
For those considering turning on the speaker to help switch off, consistency is key.
Mr Dickson recommends making music a part of your bedtime routine. He says developing the habit of listening to music for 45 minutes at bedtime for about a month has been shown to positively impact sleep patterns.
However, if youre a healthy sleeper, music isnt likely to improve the quality of your sleep further. And while there are no known side effects for using music as a sleep aid, its always best to consult with your GP first, Mr Dickson says.
Music is most useful for people who struggle to sleep because of insomnia related to anxiety or stress, rather than medical issues like sleep apnoea, he says.
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Does Sleep Aid Help You Sleep
Usually, most sleeping pills have risks, particularly for people with certain medical conditions, including kidney or liver disease. Prescription sleeping pills and certain antidepressants may not be safe if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or an older adult.Sleeping pill use might develop the risk of nighttime falls and injury in older adults.However, you can take Melatonin Capsules or drops, which can help you fall asleep faster and even reduce your anxiety. It doesn’t come with the harmful side effects that other Sleeping pills offer.You should always talk with your doctor before trying a new treatment for insomnia.
Music can pump you up while workouts, even inspire you before going into an important job interview. In fact, music has been scientifically proven to calm the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine, and psychological stress response. Particularly, Classical music and sounds of nature seem to be effective.Overall, music has a positive effect on our Sleep, with one notable exception. Loud noise can negatively affect our Sleep. So, if youre about to take a good nights sleep, then turn down the volume to a reasonable level.If youve had a long day and you are having trouble winding down, put on a happy tune or take some Melatonin pills. It can probably help you relax and fall asleep. At the very least, it can put you in a better mood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Listen To Songs To Help You Sleep
Not everyone recognizes the clues regarding why they arent sleeping well or at all. The tight neck and shoulders, the headache, and the muscles tied in a knot are all signs that stress has its hooks in you. The mind goes around in circles accomplishing nothing.
It happens in the brain. Stress changes the way ordinarily happy neurons work together in the brain. When theyre unhappy, stress hormones called cortisol are released from the brain into the body. When the stress doesnt stop, this situation becomes normal to the body.
When this is the situation, our digestive systems dont work properly, the immune system is out of whack, and we cant sleep, to name just a few consequences. The snag to that is that we treat the symptoms instead of the cause. This leaves us unable to sleep without knowing why.
Well, this is the why. Now, well learn how music soothes us.
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Where’s My John Coltrane
For my family at least, music seems to have been an easy, cheap, and effective way to improve our sleep.
And when you’re the parent of young children, that’s everything.
As for my son, I recently switched his regular radio station from the children’s channel to jazz less Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and more dirty saxophones.
When my wife heard an especially energised bebop rendition recently, she changed the channel back.
But my son sat bolt upright in bed, pointed an insistent finger at the radio, and demanded to have his John Coltrane restored.
And I was rather proud of that.
What Is Wholetones 2sleep Gen2
Wholetones® 2Sleep Gen2 is a portable music player that contains songs created specifically for sleep. The sounds and harmonies have been scientifically engineered to help you relax and fall asleep quickly.
The songs help you achieve deep relaxation with binaural beats that make it easier for your brain to reach alpha waves which induce sensory-motor reflexes . In addition, this music also uses nature sounds such as beach waves that help produce delta waves associated with restful sleep.
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When Should We Begin Playing Music To Fall Asleep Is There A Time It Works Best
According to a few studies, around 45 minutes of music before going to sleep can improve sleep quality. A Cochrane report on sleep literature said that the daily use of music, prior to sleep, was effective in improving overall sleep quality however this may look different for different people, says Dr. Leaf. However, other studies have discovered for some participants it only takes 5-15 minutes for them to fall asleep instead of their usual 30-60 minutes without music.
We recommend setting a timer for around 20 minutes and if you notice the music has stopped playing, youre obviously still awake and can reset it for longer. But if you dont, youve found the perfect amount of time to play music to help you fall asleep. If youre struggling with time, its worth playing around with the songs you have on your playlist. Stick to the relaxed, chilled-out good vibes as this type of music is most likely to work best.
Relaxing Sleep Music Benefit #2 Hormonal Support
In 2011, at the University of Leipzig, a study was done on patients undergoing spinal surgery. Those who listened to nature sounds required less anesthetic.
Music naturally slows cortisol production thereby relaxing our mind and body. Dopamine, the feel-good hormone, is released every time you listen to music you like. Sometimes, oxytocin is released as well.
When stress and anxiety prevent sleep, music is an excellent tool to pivot the mind to a more calm and serene state.
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Dickson & Schubert’s Rpr
Dickson & Schubert summarised and evaluated six researcher proposed reasons by which music could potentially aid sleep:
- Entrainment: ‘synchronization of biological rhythms to beat structures in music.’
- Masking: ‘obscuring noxious background noise with music.’
- Enjoyment: ‘listening to preferred, emotionally relatable or pleasant music.’
- Distraction: ‘where music acts as a focal point to distract from inner stressful thoughts.’
- Expectation: ‘individuals cultural beliefs around music.’
- Relaxation: ‘where music encourages physiological or psychological relaxation.’
Can Music Help You Sleep
Reader Tom, whom we might assume is suffering from insomnia, sends us this link to WebMD about the use of music to help us sleep.
Yes, there is data that suggests that music can help people fall asleep, says Michael Breus, Ph.D., upwave sleep expert and author of The Sleep Doctors Diet Plan: Simple Rules for Losing Weight While You Sleep. But the kind of music you choose makes a difference. Music that has a relatively slow beat may help your body hit its internal snooze button. If you play Guns N Roses, chances are low that it will put you to sleep, says Breus.
The music-sleep connection has been supported in studies all over the world. It works in young people and elderly men and women. Heck, music even helps people with schizophrenia get some shut-eye. A recent meta-analysis of music-sleep studies focusing on 10 high-quality studies found that music helps people with both short-term and chronic sleep problems.
Tom wants me to make an Enter Sandman quip, but I think we should all just keep reading instead.
is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. Hes also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.
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The Perfect Music To Help You Sleep
What songs should be included on a sleep playlist?
Ultimately, you need to pick the songs that you like. Choosing an unfamiliar song might make it harder for you to go to sleep.
Here are 5 of our picks for a sleep playlist. These can help kick-start your sleep-song search:
- Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
- Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven
- Skating in Central Park – Bill Evans and Jim Hall
- Let Her Go – Passenger
- Fix You – Coldplay
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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 dont want to create your own playlist, search for one online or in your phones 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.