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What Kind of Music Helps You Sleep: What the Studies Tell Us

According to recent research, a staggering 22.5% of college students struggle to sleep. While over a quarter of adults worry about their ability to get to sleep.



So it’s not surprising that many Americans are wondering what kind of music can help you drift off.


If music is the food of love, can it also help you with quality sleep?


Here at Dormiphones, we’ve been voted the best sleep headphones provider of 2022, so we know a thing or two about how music can aid falling to sleep and crucially, staying that way during the night!


Join us in our article to discover more about the types of music to tune into to help you get the important sleep you need.


Let’s hit the brief first before we explore in a little more detail.


  • Classical music
  • Instrumental music
  • Native American
  • Celtic
  • Indian stringed-instruments
  • Nature sounds such as thunder and rain combined with music
  • Gregorian chants


With the mini answer in place, so we can understand a little more about what kind of music helps you sleep, let’s begin by looking at why music helps you sleep.

Why does music help you sleep?

Music has long been known to help ease the mind, soothe anxious thoughts, and get you to sleep quicker.


According to some experts, music acts as a sleeping aid by minimizing cortisol production – which is one of the hormones responsible for stress and anxiety.


A recent study found that patients who were about to have surgical procedures had lower levels of cortisol after listening to music.


With sleep music maestros Sleep Fruits Music winning more streams per day than Lady Gaga, according to a recent article in Rolling Stone magazine, it’s no surprise that music to fall asleep to is top of many Spotify users’ playlists.

Music for sleep can help with deep, restful sleep

So it’s safe to say that although music won’t actively cure insomnia, it can provide short-term relief. However, many other studies have confirmed that listening to music before sleep can significantly improve your quality of sleep.


As many of us are discovering the benefit of sleep headphones, it’s not surprising that some are scrolling through playlists and trying to work out which music is best for reducing anxiety and falling into a deep, restful sleep.


Let’s go through a few of our favorites.

Classical music

The tinkle of a relaxing piano or the gentle sounds of an orchestra wistfully playing soft strings can help to lower stress levels. Soothing classical styles of music can also help to slow the pulse


Classical music or instrumental music can help slow the pulse and decrease levels of stress hormones.


Relaxing orchestral music can help us switch off our brains and slow our thoughts.


Classical music without lyrics is one of the best types of music for aiding restorative sleep.


This is because music without song lyrics can often make us concentrate more heavily on the words and mean we aren’t relaxing fully. Music without words can help us drift and turn off mind chatter.

Native Indian music

Researches at  Stanford University have this to say about music and sleeping,


"listening to music seems to be able to change brain

functioning to the same extent as medication."


So it’s not surprising that the gentle rhythms of native Indian music can help us to drift into an almost meditative state.


The hypnotic drum patterns coupled with the eerily beautiful flute sounds can slow down brain waves and help you fall into a deep restorative sleep.

Instrumental music

As we mentioned previously, instrumental music of any kind can be helpful in soothing your mind and preparing your body for sleep.


Words in music before sleep can be a little distracting and cause focus on the words where our minds continually attempt to process them.


This is also why music for any kind of concentration such as studying etc, can be better without distracting lyrics.

Celtic music

Similar to many other kinds of music that help you sleep, Celtic music can reduce mind chatter, lower stress levels, and help you prepare for a restful night's sleep.


Repetitive Gaelic chants, rhythmic bagpipes, and drums can help to lull busy overworked minds and induce a state that aids a restful night's sleep.


Ethereal flutes and other pipes can wash over tired bodies to help rest and restore.

Indian stringed instruments

The relaxing sound of a sitar is a perfect style of music to play on sleep headphones to help you wind down after a busy day.


There have been a wealth of studies on the effect of Indian classical music and its effects on sleep.


The raga Neelambari in the classical Indian Karnatic system of music is particularly good to listen to, as studies have shown it can induce sleep and have sleep-promoting qualities.

Nature sounds combined with music

We all know how therapeutic it is when we listen to the sounds of birds in a forest, softly pattering rain on a window, or the cry of a whale or a waterfall.


So it’s not surprising that these sounds based in nature, either simply as unadulterated sounds or when combined with music can help to reduce brain activity.


Another reason these relaxing sounds of the natural world can help to induce relaxed states is that the non-threatening nature of these sounds reduces the stress state of ‘fight or flight’.


In their simplest form of sleep aid, they can simply mask sounds that might keep you awake, such as traffic or movement from neighbors.

Gregorian chants

This ancient form of music is probably one of the first types to be written down. The hypnotic chanting of Gregorian monks helps us connect to a deeply spiritual part of ourselves that links to the past.


Many use this type of healing music for meditation and to introduce trance-like states. So it’s little wonder it can have a significant effect when settling down to a restorative night's sleep.


So with our favorite types of music that help you sleep in place, you might be wondering if the spied of music plays a part.


Read on to find out more.

What music tempo is best for sleep

Important research recently concluded that music with 60 beats per minute or less can help our minds and bodies tune into and almost synchronize to the beat.


This can help promote a state of Alpha brain waves, which are important when relaxing and dropping off to sleep. These are the brain waves that are present where we are consciously relaxed.


Music with frequencies between 8 and 14 hertz can also help to induce alpha brainwave patterns.

How long should I listen to music for sleep?

So although there's no definitive length of time to listen, 30 minutes to 45 minutes before your preferred falling asleep time will give your brain waves time to reduce, and relax.


It will also allow the pineal gland to release important melatonin which makes you feel sleepy.

What kind of music helps you sleep? - More help!

The most comfortable way to listen to and absorb music comfortably is with sleep headphones. If you want to optimize your sleep with music, then head over to our store and select your favorite sleep headphone design.



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