How music can help you get to sleep and our top 5 songs for your bedtime playlist!

Dr. Craig Hudson, MD | January 30, 2017


How Does Relaxing Music Make You Sleepy?

Several studies have been conducted to test the effects of music on the brain. One article from the Center for Music in the Brain at Aarhus University published by researchers in 2015 suggests that music can, indeed, impact sleep quality.

“We included six studies with a total of 314 participants. The studies examined the effect of listening to recorded music at bedtime for 25-60 minutes daily in a period of 3-35 days. Five of the studies measured sleep quality and the overall result indicates that music can improve the quality of sleep for adults with sleep disorders,” explained one of the article’s authors, Kira Vibe Jespersen, to NeuroscienceNews.com.

Psychologists believe the reason sleep quality is boosted by relaxing music is because it has been shown to lower the levels of noradrenaline in the body. Noradrenaline is a stress hormone that helps us stay alert and ready for action. It is naturally produced by the body, so tricking the body into reducing how much noradrenaline it makes can help achieve a more restful sleep and sense of relaxation.

The Top 5 Songs That Should Be on Your Sleep Playlist

Sleep by Max Richter— Having crafted many film soundtracks and chart-worthy classical albums, British composer Max Richter decided to create an album designed to put his audience to sleep. He refers to it as his “personal lullaby for a frenetic world” and employs the use of a slowed pace to induce sleepiness.

Weightless by Marconi Union— The artists worked with sound therapists to create this track. It was carefully crafted to lower blood pressure, the resting heart rate and stress levels. The song has earned praise from The British Sound Academy and Time magazine who declared it to be one of the best inventions of 2011.

Silence by Musicboxes— As a frequent presence on sleepy time playlists, Musicboxes is a band who has mastered the art of interesting but relaxing music, with ‘Silence’ being one of their most popular pieces.

Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera— If you prefer the presence of words in your music, this song offers an excellent mix of relaxing vocals and instrumentals. There is a noticeable absence of percussion or drums, which has been shown to be for effective for improving sleep.

Only Time by Enya— This is another lyrical song that deserves a place on your playlist. Many listeners find the steady rise and fall of the string section to be particularly soothing.

Are any of these songs on your bedtime playlist? If not, add them on and see if they are as effective as millions of people around the world have found them to be!