Getting adequate sleep is a prerequisite for good health. After all, sleep plays a vital role in the maintenance and repair of muscles, organs, and other cells in the body. It allows the brain and body to slow down and recover, with a reduction in brain activity, eye movements, and heart rate. This is why sleep impairment and inadequate sleep is associated with weight gain, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Despite the importance of sleep, most of us overlook the importance of sleep. In fact, studies estimate that up to 33 percent of Indian adults suffer from insomnia, making sleep a public health concern (1).
While our modern fast paced culture demands quick fixes for every problem, an increasingly health conscious population is wary of such quick fixes for common health problems. This is why most Indians are reluctant to take sleeping pills and other sedatives to deal with insomnia or disturbed sleep. Natural solutions, including lifestyle changes and natural supplements are the preferred choices as these are known to be safe and non-addictive. In this regard, relaxing music is a viable and safe alternative to medication, with many researchers now investigating the scope of music therapy as a natural treatment for sleep disorders (2).
Keep reading, to find out how you can use music to help you sleep and identify the best music for sleeping.
Good Sleeping Music
When it comes to choosing music for relaxation and deep rest, you would obviously turn to calming music that makes you feel happy and carefree. Typically, this will be music that you enjoy listening to, but not all the music you love will qualify as the best sleep music. For example, up tempo songs that make you feel happy and cheerful will also make you feel energized and would be counterproductive as sleep music.
As music is something deeply personal and subjective like most art, there is no one-size fits all strategy to pick the best music for sleeping. However, there are a couple of simple rules to help determine what classifies as good sleeping music. You can use these tips to narrow down your choices, as simply recommending specific songs will not help if those recommendations are not to your liking or musical tastes. So, here are some suggestions to help you pick the best sleep music.
Songs with lyrics are more likely to trigger brain activity, reminding you about past experiences or people, which can be stimulating rather than relaxing. This does not make for good sleeping music as your subconscious is also attuned to the lyrical content although you may not be actively listening to the music. This is why the best music to make you sleep is invariably classical music, which is instrumental. Of course, if you don’t like Indian or Western classical music, you can also choose other forms of instrumental music that you find soothing. However, it’s best to opt for music with lower frequency sounds. Higher frequency sounds are less conducive to sleep, so even instrumental music that’s heavy on the violin or flute won’t work as good sleeping music.
Slow It Down
Upbeat and peppy music is great for lifting your spirits and boosting your mood, but it’s not ideal when you’re looking to find the best sleep music. You can listen to such music earlier in the day to boost your mood and overcome anxiety, but at bedtime, you should slow down the tempo. Music that is less complex and has a slow tempo will typically have no more than 60 beats per minute. This literally means that a song would have one beat per second or less. You can also find apps to help do the calculation for you. A good example of this type of music would be the song “Weightless” by Marconi Union, which was specifically designed with the intention of slowing heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Regarded as perhaps the best sleep music choice ever, researchers found that the song promoted a reduction in anxiety of more than 60 percent! (3)
For those of you who would prefer not to listen to music because of the limitations imposed with instrumental and slow tempo music, you can also use white noise. This is basically a kind of background noise at a stable frequency and intensity that helps to mask other environmental sounds like a nearby car honking or dog barking, which might otherwise disrupt sleep. In addition to using music to make you sleep, you can also try other natural methods like meditation and massage therapy, or take a natural supplement like melatonin.