Music and Sleep

October 04, 2019

Music and Sleep

When I sat down to start writing today’s blog, I felt very tense. Maybe it was from the minor injury I had attained the night before, maybe it was the weight of my work on my shoulders, or maybe, in general, I am tightly wound. Okay, I’ll admit, it’s definitely because in general I am tightly wound. To help me focus on my writing and to decompress, I put on my headphones, clicked open YouTube, and searched for “relaxing flute music”. I then had the epiphany of what I wanted to write about for this blog. Music and sleep.

From personal experience, I know that music can help to calm me. I remember a nail salon that I used to frequent. It was located inside of a spa that offered facials, massage therapy, and the like. When I would show up early to any appointment, they would have me wait in their relaxation room. I am not sure if that was the actual name of the room, but that’s what it felt like to me. When I entered this room, I was welcomed with cushioned couches and melancholy music. I would sink into one such couch and revel in the feeling of peace that embodied me. I am not sure if it was the lack of conversation, the plumpness of the pillows, or the melodious music that enabled me to experience this feeling of calmness. Another memory quickly comes to mind. Years ago I would shop at Crystal Fantasy, Bookstore of Sacred Light. Their store used to be located near a Thai restaurant that I would dine at frequently. It was at this store that I was introduced to Reiki (I will do a future post on Reiki, as there is too much information to explain it here). Reiki is a Japanese method that promotes stress reduction and healing. At this location, the Reiki was done in a group setting. The group sat in a circle in the middle of the room, with the lights turned off, while soothing music played in the background. The Reiki Masters would go from person to person, providing healing energy by getting close to us but never connecting with touch. A feeling of serenity would always overcome me, almost bringing me to tears each time that I would participate. Remembering these experiences, and how calm the music helped to make me, it makes me wonder about the relation of music and sleep.

In researching, I found there are several benefits from music:

  • Reduces a person’s anxiety
  • Reduces a person’s stress
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Slows breathing

These occurrences are mimicking what happens when we fall and are asleep.

Knowing the effects that music can have, one would need to know which music to listen to. It appears that the ideal rhythm for music being used to calm and sooth is 60 to 80 beats per minute. Various classical pieces, Celtic music, and melodies that use flutes or string instruments are types that many people find relaxing. Everyone is different, however, so you will need to listen to a few different types of music until you find the recording that is the best to help you to fall asleep.

If you do decide to use music to help you slumber, there are a few things to know:

  • Just like earplugs, earbuds can cause wax build-up, so be careful when using them while sleeping.
  • Look for a radio or device with an auto-off function that can turn the music off after a specified amount of time.
  • Be extremely careful if listening to music using headphones with a cord when you are sleeping as this poses a strangulation risk.

Now that you know how music can affect sleep, maybe you can try listening to some before you drift off to see if it helps you. Even if you don’t notice a difference in the quality of your rest, the music should help you feel a sense of relaxation. I’m not sure about you, but my tightly wound self will take relaxation any day.

Do you use music to help you sleep?
What type of music do you find works best for you?


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