Plato once said music “gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
And he was right. But music is not only impactful for our imagination, listening to music while sleeping can improve our bodies and health.
If you’re like the average human, you will spend about 26 years of your life sleeping. This equates to 9,490 days or 227,760 hours.
As if that’s not enough, you’d also spend 7 years trying to get to sleep. So if you’re looking for ways to get a good sleep and wake up more rested, keep reading.
In this article, we will discuss the research and benefits of listening to music while sleeping.
1. Improve sleep quality
The quality of sleep is not just how many hours you sleep.
Sure, that matters. But often, the most important factor for sleep quality is whether we indeed rested during the state of sleep.
The lack of sleep quality is why you’ll find people complain that although they sleep for several hours, they wake tired.
More hours doesn’t necessarily equal better rest. A good rest depends on a few factors.
The primary one is how well your brain waves slow down 90 minutes after falling asleep.
That’s a stage referred to in the sleep cycle as Rapid Eye Movement. Listening to music while sleeping can help facilitate the stages that lead to that.
Researchers split the participants into two groups: 25 to the music group and the other 25 to a control group.
Participants in the music group listened to soothing music for 45 minutes at nocturnal sleep time. The control group did not.
It turns out that the group that listened to music significantly increased their rested state during sleep. But that’s not all. They also shortened the time their brain waves shut down.
2. Facilitates deeper and longer sleep
If you like to take afternoon naps, it’s possible you need a deeper sleep in a short period.
Or maybe you have a busy night schedule and so have only a few hours to sleep. In any of these cases, deep sleep is important for you.
Listening to music while sleeping can be a powerful way to fall into a deep sleep.
In one study, researchers looked into the effect of sedative music on the sleep cycle.
Researchers enrolled 24 young adults and observed their sleep patterns. So for two nights in a row, researchers assigned participants to two groups in a random way.
One group listened to sedative music composed by certified music therapists for the first hour the participant was in bed. The other group didn’t listen to any music.
The results showed that sedative music improved the quality of sleep by prolonging the duration of deep sleep.
Also, music provides an alternative and noninvasive way to improve sleep. This really helps if you experience sleep problems.
But that’s not all.
Another study in the Journal of Music Therapy found something fascinating. Turns out people who listened to background music had significant improvement in sleep duration over time.
Indeed, 66.7 percent of those participants who listened to music slept longer hours.
They had more than 7 hours of sleep per night. So if you want to lose yourself in deep sleep, listening to music while sleeping can help.
3. Enhances relaxation
Our circadian rhythm plays an important role in determining how well we sleep. Let me explain.
For example, the circadian rhythm helps our bodies to respond to environmental cues. These cues inform our bodies to feel sleepy or awake.
Think of it as the body’s natural clock that helps us to wind down and wake up.
When we listen to music while sleeping, we send a powerful cue for the body’s circadian rhythm. It tells the body to start to wind down.
Take for example this study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing. Participants received a choice of 20 musical tapes to play at any time they wished. These tapes included light classical and jazz to country music.
The researchers also gave participants the choice to select music that he or she enjoyed. They also had the choice to change music as their moods changed.
The results suggest that listening to music made participants feel more relaxed and comfortable. One of the participants described:
“Listening to the music gave me a feeling of relaxation, comfort, taking me away to a safer nicer place. It was like a feeling of peace and calmness. It was just a comfortable feeling.”
This relaxation feeling helps you to effectively wind down and fall asleep naturally.
4. Offers distraction from pain
Another benefit of listening to music while sleeping is that it provides an escape from pain. I’ll explain.
This was another finding from the study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing.
Researchers reported that listening to music can help distract from pain in the postoperative period.
Here’s what one of the participants:
“The music helped me to forget about the pain for a while. I was able to concentrate on the music and not on the pain. It helped me feel better.”
Besides the distraction from pain, there was something else.
All of the participants indicated that listening to familiar music distracted them from fear, pain, and anxiety.
And this, in turn, allowed them to be calmer and, in many instances, fall asleep. Here’s the point:
It can distract you from the pain and help you get more restful sleep.
5. Reduces stress
If you want to sleep well, the last thing you want to stress.
Stress, whether it’s related to work, health or relationships, can prevent you from having a good night’s sleep.
For example, one recent study found a link between music and stress. Music can help soothe pediatric emergency room patients.
Researchers found that patients who listened to relaxing music were significantly less stressed.
Particularly, while getting an IV inserted. Those who didn’t listen to music had more distress.
6. Helps you sleep faster
Another important factor in getting in good sleep is getting to sleep sooner when you go to bed. It’s often called sleep onset.
Listening to music while sleeping can be a great way to lull yourself to sleep faster.
In one study, researchers examined the impact of individualized music protocol on sleep. Does that help to promote sleep onset?
And once asleep, did music protocol help maintain the sleep? That was part of the study’s goal.
Fifty-two women who participated in this study were assigned a two-week regimen of active music listening.
The study found that music decreased the time to sleep onset and the number of nighttime awakenings. And this overall improved the quality of sleep
7. Provides a cheaper way to fall asleep
If you’re one of those people who spend a lot of money on sleep aids or medications to fight insomnia, you also know how expensive it can be.
The alternative, which is also a cheaper option, is listening to music while you sleep.
This study, for example, investigated the effects of music on sleep quality in young participants with poor sleep.
Not only did the researchers find that relaxing classical music is an effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems.
But also, they recommended nurses to use listening to music while sleeping as the “safe, cheap and easy to learn method” to treat insomnia.
8. Improves cognitive performance
Sleep is not only an end in itself. It is also a means to another end. This other end is how we perform after sleep.
We not only want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated after sleeping.
But also, we also want to be sharper, less fatigued, more energized, and more productive.
It’s not surprising that a good afternoon nap for a few minutes works wonders.
When you feel tired after eating can help you regain concentration simply by napping briefly.
The good news is that sleeping while listening to music helps boosts your concentration post-sleep. When you do wake up, you are more alert.
In one study, students were given a 45-minute CD of music at naptime every day and bedtime each night for 3 consecutive weeks.
The study found that the use of background music is important for feeling refreshed during the day.
It helped participants to concentrate better during classes at school.
9. Helps you lose weight
Here’s something shocking: nobody teaches us in high school class about how to sleep well. Even though we will spend about 26 years sleeping on average, we know very little.
Studies show that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to gain weight.
Some studies show you’re likely to eat about 559 more calories the next day compared. Get those eight hours of sleep.
Another study reported a link between inadequate sleep and weight gain. The fewer hours you sleep (5 hours or less), the more likely you are to put on weight.
The ultimate benefit of listening to music while sleeping is improving sleep quality. You can get an adequate amount of sleep you need.
And getting adequate sleep prevents weight gain, and even help you lose belly fat.
10. Fights diseases
According to one research, individuals who sleep less than six hours a night face certain health risks.
They might be three times more likely to develop a condition which leads to diabetes and heart disease
Listening to music while you sleep helps you sleep deeper and more quickly, and for longer hours too.
All of this can help you fight the risk of heart diseases related to poor sleep.
What type of music should you listen to while sleeping?
So if you’ve read up till this point and you’re convinced of the benefits of listening to music while sleeping, one question comes to mind:
What type of music should I listen to?
Here’s the thing: it all comes down to what you enjoy. But here are a few tips to narrow your choice to the kind of music.
And these choices will help you sleep well.
Choose familiar music
It’s better to sleep to track that you are familiar with. Over time, it becomes the external cue to your body to wind down, because it’s time to sleep.
A familiar song will also make sure that you’re not distracted. Nor that your sleep is distracted with a surprising loud section of the new music.
Choose slower beats per minutes
Our bodies and brains are often like dry leaves during a wildfire. Once it catches a bit of the fire, it easily spreads to different parts.
This is to say one thing: our brains are very responsive. And when you want to sleep, the kind of response you want to trigger is that of relaxation.
Our breathing will begin to mirror the music’s slow beat, which will, in turn, align with our heart rate. All of this enables us to get to sleep.
That said, slow tunes and music with a rhythm of about 60 to 80 beats per minute (BPM) are ideal. Most of the studies used classical music, jazz or other sedative genres of music.
Choose music without lyrics
Most people’s minds like to catch up with lyrics in words, just because we like them or know them.
Remember that’s the last task you want to give your mind when you want to sleep. It’s important to allow the brain’s cognitive machine to wind down and rest as well.
Aim for consistency
As we’ve discovered in numerous research, our body and brains’ adaptation to sleep becomes stronger with time. Some studies used it for up to three weeks.
Plus, habits, in general, take time to not only build but also see the results.
This is why you should aim to be consistent with your bedtime music routine once you start. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
Guard your emotions
If the song you choose reminds you of a date that went sour or a terrible breakup, you probably have the wrong choice.
Your goal is to fall asleep. You don’t want to arouse strong negative emotions that will keep you more stressed and more awake.
The other way is true too. Avoid choosing songs that will make you too excited that you can’t sleep, like a kid on Christmas eve.
Avoid the falling asleep with earbuds
Earbuds or headphones are a great way to isolate yourself into the wonderful world of music.
But it can make your sleep uncomfortable and prolonged use may lead to ear canal damage.
Enhance the rest of your sleep environment
It could also be the aroma of the bedroom or the air circulation if it’s summer. Or better yet, it could be the color of bedroom paint.
The point is: pay attention to the little things that make you feel comfortable. If you want to sleep naked, go for it.
There are so many benefits to stripping everything off at night. You can also consider reading before sleep to calm yourself down.
Make sure your body is comfortable.
Keep the temperature of your room between 60 and 75°F. An important bedroom change is having the room well ventilated.