Sleep has a profound effect on our minds and emotions. So, it’s no surprise that recent studies have found a link between listening to music and falling asleep. A study conducted in the United States demonstrated that those patients who were suffering from stress disorders resulting in insomnia, found music to be an effective alternative to sleep medication. But, what is the best way to use music to help sleep? Read on to find out.
Why does music aid sleep?
Sleep deprivation can cause a variety of health problems and is an issue for many people around the world. But, could something as commonplace as music be the key to treating some forms of insomnia?
Scientists have proven that listening to music at least 45 minutes before going to bed helps you to have a relaxing and a peaceful slumber. As a result, you’re able to wake up the next morning fresh and ready to tackle the challenges of the day.
According to scientific research, listening to music directly impacts the parasympathetic system that aids in preparing the brain to sleep and relax. Researchers concluded that music has the ability to calm your heart rate and breathing, decrease your blood pressure and relax your muscles. These biological changes set the scene for you to drift off into a relaxing slumber.
Listening to music or white noise during the night, can also work by drowning out other environmental noises that may interrupt your sleep. For instance, if you live in a bustling neighborhood or your partner snores, you may enjoy listening to music to mask these sounds and stop them from waking you.
The benefits of using music to help sleep
There is no lack of sleep aids and medications out there. However, a lot of sleep medications cause side effects, which some people actually find worse than the insomnia. Sleep medications often leave a person drowsy the next day which can impact their work and daily activities. Music is a great alternative because there are no negative side effects and it is non-habit-forming.
Music is also cheap and easily accessible compared to other insomnia treatments. So, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
What music is best for sleep?
Make sure your choice of music is based on personal preference. There is no ‘one size fits all’ sleep music. If you don’t like a style of music it is unlikely to put you into a relaxed state. So, choose music that you enjoy, foremost.
It is best to choose music styles with a slower tempo and a level of consistency. As a general guide, research has found that classical music, folk music, and jazz music are the best options for a bedtime melody. Specifically, music featuring piano, violins, and bells was found to assist with getting to sleep. Research has also shown that soothing songs that have a rhythmic beat as slow as 60 to 80 BPM are perfect for a relaxing sleep. This is why classical music is a popular option.
Another consideration is how loud your music is. Studies have shown that soft music improves sleep quality and quantity. So, keep the volume down to increase relaxation.
Try to make sure that your music does not have large pauses between the tracks. This can cause you to wake up when a new track starts. Continuous music is best. Most specialty sleep CDs or downloads will have continuous music for this reason. If you are using your own music, you might be able to adjust the settings on your media player.
With music, continued use is crucial. The relaxing effect may not be obvious after one night. Continued use can help build an association between certain music and sleep, which will help it to work better and faster night after night.
Do you need sleep headphones?
Wearing headphones (also called earphones) to sleep can be uncomfortable, painful and even dangerous. Bulky over ear headphones only allow you to sleep on your back, and in ear earphones can cause ear canal pain and a build up of wax with prolonged use. Sleep headphones are designed specifically for sleeping in. They are soft, comfortable, flexible and often cordless.
Sleep headphones can help treat insomnia in two ways:
1. Blocking out environmental noise
Sometimes there are noises in our sleeping environment that are outside of our control. These noises can be partying neighbors, local wildlife, traffic noises, a snoring partner, or anything else. If these noises are keeping you from getting to sleep or waking you up from your slumber, it’s time to fix it.
2. Providing soothing and relaxing sleep audio
There are a range of things that you can listen to that are actually designed to help you sleep. As mentioned above, classical music is a popular traditional option. There are also a range of new age alternatives like guided meditation, delta waves and binaural beats put to music that can help you get to sleep. Please note that binaural beats work by sending a different sound into each ear, which means they will only work when wearing stereo headphones.
Features needed in sleep headphones
If you are in the market for a pair of sleep headphones, here are the features that you want to look for: • Comfortable • Does not go into your ear • Can be worn when sleeping on your side • Lightweight • Trusted brand – for safety • Sound quality
The best sleep headphones
SleepPhones by AcouticSheep are the most popular sleep headphones. It’s no wonder they call them pajamas for your ears!
They consist of a soft headband with thin adjustable and removable speakers at the sides. Nothing goes into your ears and the headband is soft and padded. They tick all of the boxes in the section above, including being perfect for side sleepers.
Safety is the most important feature with sleep headphones, you want quality batteries and electronics that are manufactured to code by a brand with a proven track record. SleepPhones are RoHS/CE compliant with the highest standards for electronics and batteries.
The speakers in SleepPhones are surprisingly high quality. They are made exclusively for AcouticSheep by a company that also makes high-end audiophile quality speakers.
The SleepPhones headbands are also hypoallergenic, latex-free and machine-washable (take out the speakers first), which makes them a winner. They also come in sizes small, medium and large, to suit every head.
Julia from I Dream of Sleep raves about SleepPhones, she says “The first night I wore my sleep headphones, it was like the heavens parted and angels sang. I fell asleep and stayed asleep all night because all I heard was gentle rain falling on a tin roof instead of my husband sawing logs.”
There are a few different types of SleepPhones. Below is a chart from SleepPhones on the differences in the models. Please note that the prices on the chart below are in US dollars but they are happy to ship internationally.
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. Always speak to a medical professional before using sleep products to make sure they are right for you. This post may contain affiliate links.