Whether you are struggling with a sleep disorder or simply want to improve the quality of your sleep, music can help you sleep more deeply. Several studies have shown that music can significantly improve the quality and duration of your deep sleep cycle.
One study in particular showed that adults who listened to music for 45 minutes before bed reported better sleep quality. The benefits were felt on the first night and carried forward for several nights.
Music is beneficial for deep sleep in several ways. It helps your nervous system calm down, it enables you to fall asleep faster, and it promotes deeper levels of relaxation throughout the night.
Most Effective Types of Music for Deep Sleep
The best type of music for deep sleep is gentle, calming, and soothing. It should have a slow tempo and minimal lyrics to promote relaxation and quiet the mind. Below are the best types of music for deep sleep.
Music with nature sounds such as fire crackling, rain, waves crashing, wind, and birds singing helps create a calming ambiance for deep relaxation and sleep. The sounds also drown out the noise from your immediate environment.
White noise contains all the frequencies across the sound spectrum. It is typically a humming, static sound. White noise can help some people sleep better as it masks and tunes out background noise, helping you settle down and fall asleep faster.
White noise is particularly popular for soothing children and helping them fall asleep. It can be equally effective for adults. You can play white noise on your device or rely on natural sources of white noise, such as the humming sound produced by an air conditioner, a hissing radiator, or a whirring fan.
Meditation music can be composed of one or several different tones, beats, and sounds. It can include nature sounds, classical music, binaural beats, ambient music, soft instruments, or soothing voices.
It is primarily created to provide a calming backdrop when meditating to help you relax and concentrate. Since meditation music alters the brain’s frequencies from active brain waves to calmer brain waves, it is useful as a sleep aid.
Listening to instrumental music, such as guitar, piano, violin, drum, flutes, and native-stringed instruments can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Note that not all instrumental music improves sleep. Opt for slow-tempo, less dynamic instrumental music rather than upbeat and energizing tracks.
ASMR Sleep Sounds
ASMR is the abbreviation for autonomous sensory meridian response. It refers to a tingling, soothing sensation that spreads across the skull, down the back and neck, and sometimes up the spine and limbs in response to an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic stimulus.
For those who experience ASMR from auditory cues, listening to ASMR sleep sounds can induce relaxation and tension relief throughout the body for better sleep.
Ambient music refers to electronic instrumental music with no persistent beat that helps to create a soothing environment. It typically features slow, repetitive melodies and sounds. Listening to ambient music can help you relax and fall asleep faster by creating a calming atmosphere.
With binaural beats, you listen with headphones to two different tones playing in each ear. One tone has a slightly higher frequency than the other which creates a slight dissonance.
Your brain perceives the dissonance between the two frequencies by hearing a third sound. The difference between the frequencies of each tone determines the frequency of tone that you hear, also called the binaural beat.
This process of balancing the dissonant tones and producing a third tone entrains the brainwaves at the frequency of the binaural beat.
Binaural beat frequencies ranging from 30-50 Hz are associated with beta waves which are the most alert brain waves. With binaural beats of 8Hz-13Hz, the brain waves slow down to the alpha state, which promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety.
4-8 Hz binaural beats elicit theta waves, which are prominent in the first stage of sleep. Listening to binaural beats at this frequency can help you get into a meditative state and fall asleep. Finally, delta waves have the lowest frequency range, 0.5 Hz-4Hz. The delta waves are associated with deep sleep.
Although most people enjoy listening to binaural beats, a few find the different frequencies distracting and irritating. If you are in the latter category, try other types of music for deep sleep.
Also, do not listen to binaural beats at high volumes exceeding 85 decibels. Higher volumes pose the risk of hearing loss, especially when listening to music for prolonged periods.
Solfeggio frequencies refer to an ancient tuning system that harmonizes instruments with the electromagnetic frequencies from the earth. These frequencies of sound have been shown to help release negative emotions and initiate healing.
Different frequencies have different effects on the human body and emotions. For instance, 285 Hz boosts immunity and 432 Hz makes you more relaxed.
Therefore, 432 Hz is a great sleeping aid as it slows your heart rate and brain waves. A Solfeggio frequency of 528 Hz can also help you relax and sleep deeply.
Classical music is another category of music that can help you to sleep deeply. It helps your mind slow down, allowing your conscious brain to switch off. Go for slow-paced tunes with a tempo of about 60 beats per minute, which is a common resting heart rate in adults.
How to Use Music for Deep Sleep
For best results, establish a bedtime routine and incorporate calming and relaxing music as part of it. You want to start your bedtime routine 30-45 minutes before bedtime to signal the body and brain to wind down and relax. If you have a sleep disorder, start your sleep routine up to 2 hours before bedtime.
You do not have to use headphones or earbuds unless you are listening to binaural beats. Simply play the music at a low to mid-range volume through a speaker.
Note that sleeping with earbuds can cause earwax to build up, leading to ear infections. Additionally, rolling over while wearing earbuds can cause injury to your ear andover-ear headphones can make it difficult to switch your sleeping position.
Use a speaker or stereo with low lighting and find a soothing volume. If you want the music close by without using earbuds or headphones, consider buying a pillow speaker. You can set the music to continue playing for up to an hour after you fall asleep or through the night.
Examples of Music for Deep Sleep
- 100 Songs Relax – Instrumental Relaxing Music, Nature Sounds, Lounge, Chillout, Spa and Meditation Music
- 2 Hour Deep Sleep Music
- Just Rain: 2 Hours of Sounds from the Natural World Peaceful Rain Storm for Sleep & Relaxation
- Just Waves: 2 Hours of Sounds from the Natural World (Pure Surf & Ocean Waves for Sleep & Relaxation)
- Summer Night Camping Trip: Campfire & Sleep Sounds of Nature
There is a wide range of soothing music suitable for deep sleep. Try out the different types of music to identify what you prefer and what works best for you.
Incorporate music as part of your daily bedtime routine to help condition the body and brain for relaxation, while improving the depth and quality of your sleep.