Music is wonderful for many reasons. It can bring a smile to our faces, relieve stress and help us get in the mood for a party. However, very few people are aware that music can also help us improve sleep hygiene, fall asleep quickly and generally feel more rested.
Thanks to streaming apps and portable speakers, music is easier than ever to enjoy wherever you are. It may be a good idea to try adding music to your nightly routine, given its accessibility and potential sleep benefits.
Is there scientific evidence for music affecting sleep?
Science confirms what many parents have experienced: gentle sounds and lullabies help kids fall asleep. Several studies have suggested that listening to soothing melodies helps children of all ages sleep better at night.
However, lullabies aren't only for children. Studies show listening to soothing music improves sleep quality across all age groups.
For example, according to a study, adult participants who listened to 45 minutes of music before sleeping reported better quality sleep from their first night. Even more interesting is that participants reported getting even better sleep as they increased their frequency of listening to music before bedtime.
Studies also show that music helps sleep efficiency, i.e., individuals can sleep for an extended time while in bed. This improved efficiency ensures that sleep is actually restful and individuals don’t have the problem of waking up in between sleep at night.
Additionally, music can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. For example, participants in a study of insomniac women played a self-selected album for ten consecutive nights before sleeping. Adding music to their evening routine reduced the time it took for participants to fall asleep from 27 to 69 minutes to 6 to 13 minutes.
How does music affect sleep?
Music may enhance sleep by regulating hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol. Stress and elevated cortisol levels can increase alertness and impair sleep. Music then functions to lower levels of cortisol, which might explain why it relieves stress and makes people feel more at ease.
In addition, the release of dopamine during pleasurable activities, such as eating, exercising, and sex, is also triggered by music. A release like this can ease sleep issues and boost good feelings at bedtime.
Listening to music can also soothe the autonomic nervous system, contributing to relaxation. The Autonomic nervous systems control automatic and unconscious processes within your body.
Music helps us sleep by calming parts of our autonomic nervous system, which means we breathe more slowly, our heart rate slows down, and our blood pressure drops.
Furthermore, music can change how you view your bedroom. It allows you to associate relaxation and peace with your bedroom instead of frustration and sleepless nights. This generally improves how much sleep you will be able to get.
What kind of music Is best for sleep?
Now that we are certain that music is beneficial to sleep, the next question becomes what kind? Research shows us that there is no express agreement on what music is best for sleep and which is not. The best we know is that most researchers have suggested using a self-curated playlist or one specifically designed with sleep in mind.
Experts reiterate that a person's musical preferences play a significant role in how music affects their body. Songs that have helped individuals fall asleep in the past may be included in custom playlists, alongside songs that they usually find relaxing.
In addition, when designing a playlist, the tempo should be a consideration. The tempo and speed of music are often quantified as beats per minute (BPM). Most studies select the use of music between 60 and 80 BPM. The theory is that the body may sync with slower music due to the resting heart rate range of 60 to 100 BPM1.
Many online music services offer pre-packaged playlists for specific activities for those who don't want to design their playlists. For example, some playlists are curated for sleep and relaxation. But, again, it is essential to note that you can experiment with different sounds till you arrive at what best suits you.
Tips for making music a part of your sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits that you incorporate that affect your sleep. The quality of your sleep hygiene is essential to the quality of your sleep.
Considering how beneficial music can be to your sleep, it is wise that you incorporate it into your sleep hygiene. Here are a few tips that can guide you as you do this:
- Establish a routine: Incorporate a calming and regular music routine into your evening rituals.
- You should avoid songs that trigger strong emotional reactions: Everybody has songs that make them feel very happy or sad. It may not be a good idea to listen to those while trying to sleep, so try music that is just neutral.
- Make a mix of songs you enjoy: If a pre-made playlist doesn't work, try making your own. Music with a slower tempo is beneficial for many, while others benefit from a faster tempo. Do what works for you.
- Listen to music at a low level while sleeping. Excessive decibels though your headphones or earbuds can cause damage to your ear canal. Sleeping with earbuds may also cause ear wax buildup and ear infections.
Instead, place a small speaker or stereo near the bed. Select speakers that do not emit bright light, which can interfere with sleep, and choose a volume that is not too loud.
Music can be a valuable tool to help you deal with difficulty sleeping. Thankfully, it is easily accessible, so you can easily incorporate it into your sleep hygiene.
Good music with excellent sleeping materials designed to provide comfort to sleep may be all you need to take your sleeping experience to the next level. Our Cooler Weighted Blanket is an example of such sleep materials. It is made with materials that promote deeper and more restful sleep