How to Use Music and Sounds to Help You Sleep Better

Whether a sound is relaxing or disruptive depends a lot on the individual. Sometimes we find sounds pleasant because of positive emotional associations, so the sound of man’s best friend barking can be relaxing for a dog person. But there are lots of sounds out there, and it can take some time to figure out which ones work for you. Neuroscientists recommend we try specific sounds for at least a few nights to find out if they are really helping us get a better night’s rest.


Rumor has it that music helps people sleep better. Most of us have dozed off to a serene tune, but how would it affect us, if we purposefully slept with the sound of music on? Does it really help us sleep?


The short answer is “yes”, at least for some kinds of music. A smooth relaxing tune does indeed help our bodies hit the snooze button, but on the flip side, volatile and unpredictable sounds can liven us up.


Make some (white) noise

White noise combines all noise frequencies to mask other sounds and sometimes helps treat insomnia. But be wary of white noise apps that can cause auditory nerve damage, especially for those who use headphones or have sensitive hearing. Instead, you can use a white noise machine, similar to a fan stand, or sites that provide this kind of sound.


Embrace nature

Ocean waves, rain-forest animals, thunderstorms, can all be pleasant sounds to fall asleep to. Natural noises are less likely to annoy us than some other sounds because they usually include fluctuations in amplitude and frequency. But those using rain and ocean sounds should make sure there’s a toilet nearby since we warn that the sound of water can trigger the need to use the bathroom.


Soak up the silence

Some people find no noise is good noise since it doesn’t have any associations with stress or negative emotions, so give silence a shot.


Play that music

When a head full of worries is keeping us awake, music can help us relax a little. Avoid music with lyrics that may keep the mind active, and instead try classical, folk, or slow-paced contemporary styles. But if you are using the radio or TV for music, use a timer, since the noise may disrupt sleep as the night progresses, whether we realize it or not.


It has long been known that music is a powerful universal language. Apart from lifting and guiding us through workouts, inspiring us through life it also helps us relax and reduce anxiety, as “the cherry on top.”


Music has the power to slow your heart rate and breathing, lower your blood pressure, and to send signals to your muscles to relax. These biological changes mirror some of the same changes that your body undergoes when you’re falling asleep, making music the perfect preparation for therapeutic slumber.


The music-sleep connection has been supported in studies all over the world. It works in young people and elderly men and women. Music even helps people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders get some shut-eye. A recent meta-analysis of music-sleep studies found that music helps people with both short-term and chronic sleep problems. It has also been found that music reduces blood pressure and decreases blood levels of cortisol (“the stress hormone”).


What should you do?

Choosing the type of music is a personal preference, and you’re most likely to relax while listening to familiar music that you enjoy. But keep this tip in mind: Slow tunes are ideal. Look for a rhythm of about 60 to 80 beats per minute (BPM). As you are falling asleep, your heart rate begins to slow, and starts to move toward that 60-beats-per-minute range. To put it differently, slow music “tunes” your heartbeat toward the sleep zone.


Familiar songs tend to work well, as do “easy listening” picks like classical, and folk music. It may help to experiment to see what works best for you.


It’s fine to fall asleep listening to music, but don’t wear earbuds or headphones to bed. They can be uncomfortable, and if you roll over wearing earbuds, you could hurt your ear canal. Instead, use pillow speakers. These devices are exactly what they sound like: pillows with speakers inside them.


Once you integrate music into your bedtime routine, stick with it. The benefits may not happen overnight- it can take as many as three weeks to see improvement- but listening to music pays off. Putting on some tunes can help you fall asleep faster, wake up less during the night, and feel more rested in the morning. Music can help sleepers of all ages, from toddlers through the elderly, at nap time and nighttime alike.


Can music and sounds make you fall asleep in seconds?

The honest truth is that sounds could potentially help you relax quicker. It all depends on your current state of mind and the way that you feel in general– that’s what’s important. Music can only facilitate the process if the circumstances are right.


Can music change your brain?

A melody can’t change your brain, but it can provide you with new and fresh perspectives. It can help you trigger emotions which are relevant to your mood or it could help you change the way you see things in general.


How does music affect infants?

Lullabies do have seriously relaxing effects on your infant. But it doesn’t have to be a lullaby; any soothing sound to fall asleep would help.



It seems that lullabies aren’t just for babies, after all- they’re great for adults, too.


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