Does ‘sleep music’ really work?
We all know the importance of getting a good amount of deep sleep and the issues surrounding a lack of.
Anxiety, fatigue and poor daytime performance are common themes for people with sleeping disorders and others who experience a lack of sleep. This leads many to experiment with everything from herbal remedies to bedtime yoga or complex nightime routines. There is no doubt that methods like these can work for some people, but it’s important to remember that not every sleep tip will work for everyone. However, a common sleeping tip many use and even endorse is playing music or white noise before bed.
Dr Nerina, Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, has looked into the benefits of white noise in the bedroom. Dr Nerina found that if you are a sensitive sleeper, and noises made in your sleeping environment can wake you or prevent you sleeping, white noise in the form of a gentle fan or ear plugs can help sleepers settle and sleep better.
Dr Nerina also expands this to playing nature-themed background music in the bedroom, such as leaves rustling or waterfalls. However, playing these from a smartphone or tablet could be counterproductive as the blue light emitted from your device could actually prevent you from sleeping. To prevent this, play music from a bluetooth speaker or even a laptop with the brightness turned off. Just remember to try and minimise contact with blue light at least 20 minutes before your bedtime.
Following this advice from Dr Nerina, the National Sleep Foundation delves deeper into the effect that music can have on our sleep. Firstly, they highlight that music can have a direct effect on our “parasympathetic nervous system”, which is responsible for helping the body relax and prepare for sleep. This led them to find that older adults who listened to 45 minutes of relaxing music before bed actually fell asleep faster, slept longer, woke up less and, ultimately, had a better night’s sleep. Their research also found that younger adults who were given different options to help them fall asleep experienced the greatest improvement in sleep quality when they chose to listen to classical music.
The term ‘relaxing’ can be interpreted differently by everyone, and so just as the various ‘sleep hacks’ can work for different people, everyone will have a type of music that works for them. However, the National Sleep Foundation found that music with a BPM (beats per minute) of 60-80 (which is fairly slow) worked best for their research, and can be found in classical, jazz or folk music. Check out these two exclusive tracks we created with Human League and Heaven 17 founding member, Martyn Ware, to see if they can help you get to sleep.
Finally, it’s important to remember that although many find a benefit in listening to music, you still may not. Everyone has different preferences in their sleep environment, but trying a little bit of everything may help you find your ‘sleep hack’.