Connection Between Music and Sleep

Music is a beautiful thing. It makes us laugh, cry, sing, and dance, and all that can happen in a matter of 3 minutes in just one song! For most of us, music is a part of our day-to-day lives. 

But it can also be a significant part of our nightly lives. Using music before bedtime is a great way to wind down for the evening while mentally and physically preparing for one of the most important functions to our health… sleep. 

Why Music Is Great for Sleep

Sleep is something you need to take seriously. A lack of sleep isn’t just unhealthy, but it can also be dangerous. Just imagine getting behind the wheel to embark on a long road trip after a sleepless night of tossing and turning. 

Whether you experience occasional sleeping issues or chronic insomnia, music can help you get to sleep and fall asleep. This is because the right kind of music has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body relax and prepare for rest.

Next time you listen to some soothing music, take note of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Do you feel calmer than you did before the song started? Unless you’re listening to Metallica or Linkin Park, chances are the answer is yes. 

How to Use Music as a Sleep Aid

Your bedtime routine needs to be just that – a routine. Getting into certain habits right before you go to bed each night cues your body and your mind to prepare for some much-needed shuteye. 

Stay Consistent

If you want to start using music as a sleep aid, you need to be consistent with it. Don’t just listen to soothing tunes sporadically, do it every single night. Make it a part of your nightly routine and stick with it. After a few weeks, it will become your new norm, and the sound of soothing music will actually trigger your nervous system, telling it that it’s time for bed. 

Choose the Right Soundtrack

Consistency is only one part of using music as a sleep aid tool.  The next part is all about choosing the right music. It goes without saying that you won’t be listening to any headbangers or party anthems to prepare for sleep. 

Of course, there is some level of personal preference with choosing your sleep soundtrack, but you’ll want to stay away from anything that gets your heart pounding and adrenaline racing. The genres that are best for sleep include classical and jazz, and there’s even some folk music that can make your eyelids feel heavy. 

Research shows that you’re much more likely to enter a state of calm while listening to slow tunes with a steady rhythm (so avoid songs with lots of ups and downs). Try to find songs that have a rhythm between 60 and 80 beats per minute to fall in line with your resting heart rate. 

Top Sleep Music Songs

One of the greatest things about modern technology is how easy it is to access music nowadays. Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, YouTube… These are just a few of the apps you can use to access and download all of your favorite tunes. 

Through these music apps, you can pick and choose the perfect songs that will help to coax you to sleep, or you can simply find a playlist that is specifically meant to promote restfulness. 

To give you some hints on creating the perfect soundtrack, these songs in a variety of different genres have been labeled as the absolute best for sleep: 

Top 5 Classical Sleep Songs

  1. Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy
  2. Canzonetta Sul-aria” by Mozart
  3. Nocturne in E flat Major Op.9 No.2” by Chopin
  4. Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven
  5. Peace Piece” by Bill Evans

Top 5 Pop Sleep Songs

  1. Someone Like You” by Adele
  2. Pure Shores” by All Saints
  3. Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona
  4. Watermark” by Enya
  5. Let Her Go” by Passenger

Top 5 Electronic (Ambient) Sleep Songs

  1. Weightless” by Marconi Union
  2. We Can Fly” by Rue du Soleil
  3. Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)” by DJ Shah
  4. Electra” by Airstream
  5. Quiet Friend” by Steve Roach


Below is a collection of frequently asked questions about listening to music to help you sleep.

Is it bad to wear headphones while I sleep?

It’s definitely not a great habit to get into. Although it’s not a bad idea to fall asleep to music, you should avoid doing it with headphones in your ears. Wearing headphones while you sleep can cause a buildup of earwax, and can even lead to a condition called Otitis Externa

Can sleep songs have lyrics or are they mostly instrumental?

A lot of sources will suggest that you choose sleep music that is instrumental only, which is why classical tunes are the go-to choice. However, it really comes down to personal preference. If you like lyrics and they still work to soothe you, then, by all means, go with a catchy lyrical soundtrack instead.