With the growth in technological advancements, it is much easier to find solutions online to help us sleep better. One such is the influence of soothing music during bedtime. Various musicians and researchers have collaborated over the years to study whether music can actually improve quality sleep, and the answer is a definite yes!
Music is therapeutic for many people. However, not all forms of music can aid you in sleeping well. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that listening to music with a rhythm between 60 to 80 beats per minute (BPM) is ideal to induce deep slumber. This is mainly because music has an effect over the nervous system; more specifically, the parasympathetic nerves which are typically in charge of relaxing the muscles and preparing for sleep.
Does Music Actually Improve Sleep Quality?
Music is a natural drug that has no side effects. As humans, we are accustomed to falling asleep while listening to a melody ever since the nascent stages of our lives. Music, in the form of lullabies, is sung across all cultures to date and is most effective for inducing sleep.
Musicians have been researching the effects of music on the human body for decades now. One of the earliest successful studies conducted with about 100 students with sleeping disorders proved that, listening to music 3-45 minutes before bedtime helped them fall asleep easily or helped them stay asleep the entire night.
A decade later, 2018 study published with the National Institutes of Health under the US National Library of Medicine concluded that music has psychological effects that can effectively fight against sleep loss. The online study conducted with 651 participants reflected that at least 62% believe that music helps them sleep better. In addition to this, the study also found that the participants depended on music broadly under the following circumstances:
- To stimulate sleep;
- Adapting as part of sleep routine;
- To induce a mental state of calmness required to sleep;
- To block external disturbances.
Understanding the Effect of Music on the Body and the Mind
When you listen to the music of your choice, you automatically start humming the tune and tapping your feet in rhythm. This is a classic indication that music affects the body and the mind. However, there is no one particular type of reaction to listening to music. Essentially, soothing music can:
- Reduce heart rate;
- Calm the nerves and muscles;
- Lowers blood pressure;
- Reduces stress and anxiety;
- Boosts brain’s cognitive structures; and most importantly,
- Release sleep inducing hormones like oxytocin and control those hormones that can keep you up at night, like cortisol.
Quick Guide: How Can You Benefit from Music?
Listening to music just for one night will not immediately put you to sleep. It takes time for the body and the mind to get hooked on to the tunes and to slowly start forgetting the external stimuli that keep you awake or anxious. Start by incorporating soothing music as part of your bedtime routine. However, the wrong choice of music can also wake you up and get you pumped with energy. To avoid this, keep in the mind the following tips:
- Listen to classical or Jazz music before bed;
- Avoid heavy music with lyrics that can also trigger emotions and past memories;
- Upgrade your sleeping environment to make it cozy and comfortable;
- Do not fall asleep with earbuds/headphone in your ear;
- Pay attention to how the music affects your body to understand what type of music works or doesn’t work.
Struggling to find the perfect sleep music? YouTube is host to various sleep-inducing playlists, pick your preference and watch the magic unfold.