Updated: May 4
Music can influence our emotions and mind in multiple ways. It can motivate or energize us, as well as sadden or soothe us. For centuries, it's also been associated with its ability to induce sleep.
After all, moms have been singing lullabies to their babies and kids since the beginning of history.
This article will mention some studies that shed some light on music's power to induce sleep, as well as tips to take advantage of it.
Can I fall asleep by listening to music?
Many may ask themselves whether music's power to generate sleep was actually tested. The answer is yes.
One perfect example is a study in which a group of adults listened to 45 minutes of music before going to sleep. From the very first night, the participants reported an increased sleep quality, which increased cumulatively over time.
Another study also highlighted how listening to music decreases the time it takes to fall asleep. In this case, a group of women (who experienced insomnia) played music selected by them for ten consecutive nights. Before the study, these women took between 27 to 69 minutes to finally fall asleep. After the study, it only took between 6 and 3 minutes.
These studies clearly show that music has a proven effect on our ability to fall asleep and that it's not all just a myth.
The reasons why music can affect your ability to sleep are multiple, ranging from its effect on the stress hormone cortisol to the release of dopamine. On a strict psychological level, music also reduces our level of stress and the frequency of anxious thoughts, which in turn facilitates sleep.
Can music improve the quality of my sleep?
Adding music to our bed routine can definitely improve the overall quality of our sleep. Cutting the time we need to fall asleep, reducing anxious thoughts, and bringing down the stress level right before we close our eyes will impact how well we sleep in the long term.
The state we are in when we fall asleep can significantly impact the quality of our sleep. To make a long story short, if you are feeling comfortable and relaxed when going to bed, it's more likely you'll have a peaceful and restful sleep.
What type of music is more effective for falling asleep?
One reason why we love music so much is how diverse it is. We associate different genres and types of songs with different emotions, thoughts, and states of mind. When we work out, we may feel like listening to a rock song, while when we cook, we might prefer something more rustic.
So what's the most effective type of music to listen to when we are in bed, trying to catch some sleep after a hard day's work? Previously we mentioned an article in which the participants were free to choose the type of music that they wanted to listen to before sleeping. This suggests that personal preferences certainly play a role.
It's a good idea to try different types of songs and create a playlist with those that you find most effective. In general, songs with a slow tempo (between 60 and 100 beats per minute) tend to relax us and lower our stress.
As for the genre, and aside from individual preferences, classical and jazz music are definitely two options to consider.
It's also important to avoid music that may elicit strong emotions, whether positive or negative. For example, listening to a song that motivates you when jogging or one that makes you think of an ex-partner you still have strong feelings towards is probably not the best idea in these situations.
What's the best way to make music part of my sleep routine?
The aforementioned studies show how the positive impact of music on sleep tends to have a cumulative effect.
Having a routine is crucial if you want to take advantage of the sleep-inducing benefits of music. If you are suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders, it may take a while until the soothing effect of music starts delivering its benefits. You can also set the alarm on your calendar an hour or so before you usually go to sleep to remind you to listen to music.
Second, the best place to listen to music before sleeping is when you are already lying on the bed. When your body is already in a comfortable state, music will further contribute to your feelings of comfort and relaxation.
It's advisable to use speakers or a small stereo and keep the volume at a reasonable level. Using earphones or earbuds when sleeping can cause damage to your ear canal while listening to high-volume music can actually make it harder to catch some sleep.
Other tips to improve the quality of your sleep
Improve the easiness with which we fall asleep, and the overall quality of sleep may require more than one action. Alongside listening to music, some helpful tips include:
● reducing caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening;
● keeping alcohol consumption low;
● exercising at least three times a week;
● avoiding eating sugary snacks before going to bed;
● keeping your bedroom dark and quiet;
● not using your phone or computer right before sleeping.
Be consistent and try listening to different types of music and following these tips for a few days. While it may not work right away, chances are you'll probably start seeing good results within a week.
To Sum It Up
Various studies suggest that making music part of your bed routine can significantly impact both the ease with which you'll fall asleep and your overall sleep quality. It's important to try different types of music, as the most effective one may vary from time to time.
However, classical music and jazz tracks and songs with a slow tempo tend to be the most effective ones.
Use a device with speakers instead of earbuds, listen to music when you are already lying on your bed, avoid consuming caffeine in the hours before going to sleep, and try to exercise at least three times a week.
Do you have specific questions about how to use music to improve sleep or your wellbeing? Schedule a free consultation with us and we'll see how we can support you in your health goals.