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Sleep Music: Benefits of Listening to Music Before Going to Bed

Sep 17, 2021
· 6 mins read

Music is one of the most loved and celebrated art forms globally. It is one of the intangible qualities that makes us human. It is omnipresent in every culture; It takes on many forms, and serves different purposes. But what many individuals don't know is music can also help people achieve a good night's sleep more efficiently. Yes, you read that right!  

Music improves sleep hygiene and makes you feel relaxed and at ease. This is why parents usually sing lullabies or play soothing melodies to make their babies fall asleep. But the benefits of music don't stop at the end of childhood. Young adults and older adults also enjoy the positive effects of music. There is overwhelming evidence that music therapy enhances sleep quality. Sounds interesting, right? 

In this article, we will walk you through several benefits of listening to music while sleeping. We will also explore the reasons why music affects your sleep quality and what kind of music is best for having a good night's rest.  

How Does Listening to Music Affect Your Sleep? 

According to a study conducted by the neuroscience department at the University of Bergen, listening to music decreases the levels of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a chemical we are all familiar with. As levels of it build up we experience anxiety and other symptoms associated with, you guessed it, stress. Cortisol is a hormone that is responsible for increasing an individual's stress levels. A high amount of cortisol keeps your mind alert, thereby affecting the quality of sleep. 

When you listen to calming music and soothing melodies, such as classical music with a lower bpm (beats per minute), the build up of cortisol in your body begins to decrease. This helps you release stress and feel more relaxed, ultimately leading to a better and more fulfilling sleep.  

Another possible reason why music promotes high-quality sleep is that it triggers the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that your body releases during pleasurable activities, like eating your favorite food, exercising, or kissing your partner.  

The release of dopamine makes you feel euphoric. It is also effective in reducing physical pain, a leading cause of poor sleep quality. So, incorporating music listening as a part of your nightly routine can bring comfort and happiness to your mind. Not to forget, it effectively addresses pain, thereby improving the quality of your nightly slumber. Woman lying down listening to music before bed

Benefits of Listening to Music Before Falling Asleep  

Listening to music can prove to be highly therapeutic for your sleep, emotional and mental health. It has several healing characteristics that promote healthy sleep and can help counteract many sleep disorders

Along with that, listening to your favorite songs can successfully eliminate boredom, boost productivity, and enhance your creativity.  

Here are some of the top benefits of listening to music before hitting the sack: 

  •  Studies show it relaxes your autonomic nervous system 

When you play some relaxing songs before or while going to bed, you essentially "tune" your mind and body to sleep mode. Music relaxes the parts of the autonomic nervous system like the heart, lungs, etc.  

This results in several positive changes, including slow breathing, lower heart rate, removal of muscle tension, and low blood pressure. All of this calms your body and allows you to have a better sleep every night. 

A study at Tzu Chi University conducted on several older adults discovered that people who listened to music for 45 minutes before going to bed had better sleep quality than those who didn't. In fact, people were able to spot positive changes on the very first night itself! 

  • It can help you work through negative thoughts 

Negative thoughts can keep you tossing and turning aimlessly on the bed for hours. They can be a symptom of a serotonin deficiency, a neurotransmitter responsible for our controlling our mood. Our mood has a significant effect on how well or not well we sleep at night. So, worrying about life problems or thinking about something that had happened in the past or would happen in the future can lead to potential sleep problems. 

Stress and negativity are two of the biggest challenges to an individual's ability to sleep well. And thankfully, music not only acts as a sleep aid but it can help us effectively tackle these everyday struggles.

Listening to your favorite types of music helps you achieve mental and physical relaxation-the two most crucial factors necessary for having a peaceful sleep.  

  • Music boosts sleep efficiency
Your sleep efficiency is the measurement of the actual time you spend sleeping compared to the total time you spend in bed. A high sleep efficiency denotes positive sleep health and a lower number of awakenings throughout the night.  

Playing calming melodies before sleeping can improve your sleep efficiency, reduce insomnia, and make you fall asleep more quickly. It is a more natural approach to healthy sleep habits than traditional sleep medicine and related treatment options. 

Music played between two earbuds

How to Choose the Best Music for Sleep? 

We are all unique individuals with our own tastes. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to prescribe music as the "best" for sleep. The only way to find out what works for you is to pop in your earbuds and try listening to different genres until you find a particular set of songs that resonate with you.

You can also use playlists that have been specially designed to assist sleep. However, if you want to curate a bedtime playlist of your own, here are some of the factors that you might want to keep in mind:

  • Avoid loud or “party” songs 

Party songs are great for when we want to get our heartrate up and go dance! Not so much when it's time to wind down and get some zzz's. 

  • Slow beats for the win! 

Another factor to remember while curating your sleep playlist is giving preference to slow beats. A song's rhythm and tempo significantly affect your mind. Faster beats keep it attentive, while slower ones make it feel relaxed.  

Therefore, when selecting your sleep music, try to choose songs that have a rhythm of 60-80 beats per minute. This will help lower your breathing, calm your heart, and put you in a sleeping state. 

  • Try to use lyric-free music 

While it totally depends on your musical preference, we recommend you opt for lyric-free music for your bedtime. Words are mentally stimulating, and the lyrics of a song encourage your brain to follow them along. This lights up your brain's cognitive abilities and prevents you from relaxing or falling asleep. 

  • Avoid songs that trigger emotional responses 

Finally, you might want to avoid emotional songs or those that hit a nerve. For example, a sad song can make you remember the loss of a loved one. And that is something you do not want to recall before going to bed.  

Therefore, it is best to avoid any such songs that have the potential to stir up strong emotions, whether they are of extreme happiness or sadness. Instead, listen to music that is relaxing and has a calming effect, not something that will keep you awake for hours.  

How does this relate to Sleep Apnea? 

Here at Sleeplay, we understand that starting your CPAP treatment journey is not easy. What is supposed to be sleep treatment can often feel like yet another hindrance to sleep quality. 

Listening to soft and relaxing music can be used as a tool to help you overcome any difficulties you might have when you first begin treatment. With time, you will find that the initial discomfort you felt when you first put that mask on is merely a memory of the past and the music that helped you fall asleep when you first started therapy is now a useful addition to your sleep routine.

Always remember, there is no hard and fast rule for selecting the best sleep music. Whatever puts your body and mind in a relaxed state and makes you feel good and calm is the right choice for you.  

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and experiment with multiple playlists until you find your perfect match! 

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