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Soft Music for Sleep – Best Practices to Sleep Well at Night

In recent years, music therapy has gained popularity as a cost-effective and safe intervention for helping people sleep better. Soft music is particularly helpful for inducing a relaxation response in the body for optimal sleep quality.

There is a variety of low-tempo, relaxing, soft music for sleep including white noise, nature sounds, meditation background music, classical music, instrumental music, ASMR audio tracks, and ambient music..

This article will offer tips for using soft music for sleep.

Best Practices for Using Soft Music to Sleep Better

Choose the Right Soft Music

There is a wide variety of soft music that you can use to help you sleep. When choosing soft music for sleep, the key is to choose music with a slow tempo. Slower music helps your heartbeat and breathing slow down, allowing you to relax and fall asleep more easily. 

The music should have gentle changes in tone and volume.. If the music suddenly increases in volume or changes in tone, it can startle you and make it difficult to relax again.

The rhythm should be predictable and repetitive. Avoid music with lyrics, as they may be distracting. Or you could try soothing music with lyrics in a different language, which can help to calm your mind.

Generally, classical, new age music, and instrumental tracks are great options. Ambient music or music with soft nature sounds also work well.

Create a Playlist

Try different types of soft music for sleep to identify the ones you like the best and which ones are the most effective at helping you relax. Create a playlist of your favorite songs. You can stick with one genre or mix and match them.

For example, your playlist may consist entirely of soothing classical music. Or it may also contain solfeggio music, nature sounds, instrumentals, and meditation music.

If you opt to combine various genres, ensure that they have a similar tone and volume to prevent a startling and distracting change from one genre to another.

Try not to include music you have never listened to when creating your playlist. There might be sudden changes in the tempo, or you may find that you don’t like the song, which forces you to wake up and change the music, disrupting your relaxation.

Start Listening to the Music At least 1 Hour Before Your Bedtime

According to a study by the Sleep Foundation, listening to music 45 minutes before going to sleep improves sleep quality. The study showed the cumulative benefits of listening to music before sleeping. The more frequently participants incorporated music into their nightly routine, the better they slept.

Another study showed that listening to soothing music helped participants with insomnia symptoms to fall asleep faster. The women participating in the study played a self-selected album for 10 consecutive nights.

The results indicated a significant reduction in the participants’ time to fall asleep. It took them 27-69 minutes to fall asleep without music and 6-13 minutes to fall asleep with music.

Listen to the Same Songs Each Night

Listening to the same music each night solidifies your bedtime routine. Through repetition, the brain starts to respond to the stimulus of soft music.

The music signals to the body and brain that it’s time to relax and sleep. Over time, it trains your body and brain to fall asleep effortlessly. It’s a good way to establish sleeping patterns.

Set a Sleep Timer If You Don’t Want the Music to Play Through the Night

Some music apps allow you to set a sleep timer so that the music stops playing after a set amount of time. Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify have sleep timer features. You can set the timer so the music stops playing after 1-3 hours.

If you have a sleep disorder such as insomnia, it may take you longer to fall asleep, or ambient noise in your immediate environment may wake you up more easily.

In this case, it is best to let the music play for several hours before the timer turns it off. This will ensure that you’ve entered a deep sleep state by the time the music shuts off.

Loop the Playlist or Create a Long Playlist If You Prefer to Have the Music Playing Through the Night

Although some people prefer to only use soft music to fall asleep, others find that listening to music throughout the night helps them to sleep longer and more deeply.

Listening to music throughout the night has several benefits. It masks any noises in your immediate environment that may wake you up. Low frequency music, such as delta wave music and 432 Hz Solfeggio music, helps you to sleep deeply.

Soft music also triggers the brain to release feel-good neurochemicals while you’re sleeping, improving your mood and energy levels the next day.

To keep the music playing throughout the night, loop the playlist or create a long playlist (7-10 hours), depending on how long you sleep. The key when putting together a playlist to last through the night is to ensure that the music is soft and relaxing.

smiling woman in headphones enjoying music

Keep the Volume Low

Whether listening to music before you sleep or throughout the night, keeping the volume below 60 decibels is important. Loud music is not only distracting, but it can damage your ears.

Do Not Use Headphones to Listen to Music When Sleeping

Sleep specialists advise against going to sleep wearing headphones, as it is a health risk. It can cause permanent damage to your ears, resulting in hearing loss or necrosis of your ear tissues.

Earbuds can also cause a buildup of earwax. And some headphones are quite bulky and uncomfortable to sleep in. Additionally, wired headphones pose the risk of strangulation.

It’s best to listen to music using a speaker. If you want it close by, use a wireless pillow speaker, which is a pillow with small speakers built in.

However, if you prefer listening to binaural beats, this requires the use of headphones or earbuds. You can arrange your playlist so that the binaural beats play before you fall asleep.

Then remove the headphones or earbuds when you begin to feel drowsy. You may also use headphones early in your bedtime routine as you move around the house and settle into bed. If you’re looking for good earphones to wear before bedtime, we reviewed the best earphones for under $200 here.

If you are listening to music from your smartphone, place it on your bedside table rather than under your pillow. Keeping your smartphone too close to you can disrupt your sleep.

It can have negative effects on your body, such as increased body temperature due to electromagnetic frequencies, making it harder to fall asleep or remain asleep.

Electromagnetic radiation can also interfere with your brain wave frequency, inhibiting your ability to sleep deeply. If your phone screen is on, the blue light inhibits melatonin production, making falling asleep difficult. Furthermore, if you don’t put the phone on silent mode, any notifications or calls will wake you up.


Soft music is a safe and effective option for falling asleep fast. Using it for at least 45 minutes before you sleep is recommended. You can also keep the music playing throughout the night to help you sleep deeply and stay asleep longer.

The best type of music for sleep is soothing and relaxing with a slow tempo and minimal dynamics. Play the music at a low volume through a speaker.

Do not sleep with headphones or earphones in your ears, as they are a health risk. For best results, create a playlist of soothing music you like and use it every night.


  • Gia Snyder

    Gia is a yoga & meditation teacher, spiritual teacher, energy healer, and musician. She has a Bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology. She also studied at YogaWell Institute and received a Hatha Yoga Teacher Certification. Visit LinkedIn page.

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