The Best Calming Music for Sleep

man listening to music while lying on bed

Does listening to relaxing music help you sleep? The answer is – yes, and a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society can confirm it.

Soothing music has the uncanny ability to calm parts of the autonomic nervous system, reducing your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, and slowing down your breathing.

We’ve put together our top picks for the best calming music for sleep, which is guaranteed to knock you out cold.

Best Overall
Best Timeless Pieces
Best for Babies
Best for Anxiety Relief
Best Instrumental Compilation
Calm Within: Music for Relaxation of Body and Mind - Perfect for Massage, Spa, Yoga, Meditation
Timeless: The Most Relaxing Classical Music Ever
Lullaby Sleep CD, We Dream: Vol. 1 - Helps You and Your Baby Fall Asleep - Soothing Guitar Music with White Noise
Tranquil Guitar CD - Soothing Music with Ocean Waves for Relaxation, Meditation and Sleep -
Tim Janis Relaxation
Our Score
9.6
9.5
9.3
9.3
9.1
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
56 min
58 min
61 min
61 min
58 min
Genre
New age
Classical
Children
New age
New age
Best Overall
Calm Within: Music for Relaxation of Body and Mind - Perfect for Massage, Spa, Yoga, Meditation
Our Score
9.6
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
56 min
Genre
New age
Buy button
Apple Music Button
Best Timeless Pieces
Timeless: The Most Relaxing Classical Music Ever
Our Score
9.5
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
58 min
Genre
Classical
Buy button
Apple Music Button
Best for Babies
Lullaby Sleep CD, We Dream: Vol. 1 - Helps You and Your Baby Fall Asleep - Soothing Guitar Music with White Noise
Our Score
9.3
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
61 min
Genre
Children
Buy button
Apple Music Button
Best for Anxiety Relief
Tranquil Guitar CD - Soothing Music with Ocean Waves for Relaxation, Meditation and Sleep -
Our Score
9.3
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
61 min
Genre
New age
Buy button
Apple Music Button
Best Instrumental Compilation
Tim Janis Relaxation
Our Score
9.1
Available formats
Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
Length
58 min
Genre
New age
Buy button
Apple Music Button

How We Tested and Compared These Albums

After spending hundreds of hours listening to different genres of calming music, we finally found what works. We were interested in tracks with soothing melodies.

The main criteria we used to assess each album were that it had to lull us to sleep within 15 minutes or less and be available in more than one listening format. Our recommendations are based solely on firsthand experience.

Best Overall: Calm Within for Body and Mind Relaxation

Calm Within: Music for Relaxation of Body and Mind - Perfect for Massage, Spa, Yoga, Meditation

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 56 minutes
  • Genre: New age

Grammy Award winner Laura Sullivan’s Calm Within album is one of the most relaxing music collections we’ve listened to. It is slow and rhythmic, with no significant spikes or dips in the melody.

The instrumentals and vocal work are soothing, making it an excellent option for bedtime or if you just want to relax and unwind after a long day. The album consists of 10 melodic tracks that cumulatively run for 56 minutes.

What We Like About It

One of the things that make this our favorite collection of calming music for sleep is the slow rhythmic tempo of each track. Once we turned in for the night and put on the playlist, we were out like a light within 10 minutes.

If you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, Sullivan’s Calm Within might be just what you need to change it.

What We Don’t Like

It would have been nice if each track was longer than 4-5 minutes long.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

The general sentiment among the majority of buyers is that they found the music calming. One user who battles chronic insomnia reported a massive improvement in their symptoms within a week of incorporating the playlist into their nighttime routine.

Best Alternatives

Best Timeless Pieces: Laura Sullivan Relaxing Classical Music

Timeless: The Most Relaxing Classical Music Ever

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 58 minutes
  • Genre: Classical

Nothing beats the timeless classics when it comes to calming music for sleep. Laura Sullivan’s rendition of classical symphonies by music legends like Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Erik Satie, and other music bigwigs is nothing short of breathtaking. The slow and relaxed tempos make this album the perfect sleeping aid if you have trouble shutting off your brain.

What We Like About It

The slow-paced tunes and Sullivan’s soft melodious vocals are hypnotic. We found ourselves subconsciously matching our breathing to the tempo, which resulted in us falling asleep quite fast.

What We Don’t Like

The pianist’s style is slightly different from what we’re used to.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

For the most part, buyers appear quite happy with their purchases. We came across a few criticisms about Sullivan’s renditions of the classical hits, but, all in all, users agreed that it made them sleep faster.

Best for Babies: Ryan Judd We Dream Lullaby Music

Lullaby Sleep CD, We Dream: Vol. 1 - Helps You and Your Baby Fall Asleep - Soothing Guitar Music with White Noise

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 61 minutes
  • Genre: Children’s music

Ryan Judd is a Board Certified music therapist with a master’s degree in psychology. He is a musical genius when it comes to composing relaxing, soothing music designed to lull you and your baby to sleep.

Judd’s We Dream album is a musical masterpiece composed of seven lullabies that are extremely efficient in calming even the fussiest baby.

What We Like About It

We Dream lullabies work. There’s something about the soft, slow guitar melodies and the splashing ocean sounds that knock babies out cold within minutes.

What We Don’t Like

We would have liked it more if it had vocals.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

One of the users stated that she runs a daycare, and Judd’s lullabies work like a charm in getting babies to sleep during naptime.

Best for Anxiety Relief: Ryan Judd Tranquil Guitar

Tranquil Guitar CD - Soothing Music with Ocean Waves for Relaxation, Meditation and Sleep -

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 61 minutes
  • Genre: New age

The Tranquil Guitar album is yet another masterpiece from Ryan Judd. Judd combines the gentle acoustic sounds of his guitar alongside calming ocean waves to create the perfect combination of soothing sounds guaranteed to lull you to sleep. If you enjoy classical or acoustic guitar instrumental music, you will love everything about this collection.

What We Like About It

Every track in this album is played at a tempo that mimics your resting heart rate. We also like how consistent the acoustics are throughout the length of play. The songs did not have any notable disruptive breaks or jarring changes in volume.

What We Don’t Like

The sound of the ocean waves was too soft compared to the guitar’s volume. We would have preferred it if the guitar was a little more subtle for balance.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

Most of the buyers had no complaints about the album. One of the users, who happens to be a senior citizen living in a retirement home, reports that the calming sounds of the acoustic guitar and ocean waves are the perfect accompaniment to her relaxation exercises.

Best Instrumental Compilation: Tim Janis Calming Music for Sleep

Tim Janis Relaxation

Product Overview:

  • Available formats: Streaming, MP3, Audio CD
  • Length: 58 minutes
  • Genre: New age

Tim Janis is a renowned American composer who creates musical masterpieces designed to help people find peace and relaxation in their day-to-day lives.

His three decades’ worth of experience is evident in his Relaxation Volume 1 album, which features instrumental tracks handcrafted for sleep, meditation, prayer, work, study, or a day at the spa.

What We Like About It

The best thing about this album is the unique way Janis integrates nature sounds with soft instrumentals to create the perfect calming music for sleep. Angelic Evening is by far our favorite bedtime track.

What We Don’t Like

Each track runs for about three minutes which we found a little short. Our sweet spot is typically around the seven-minute mark.

What Previous Buyers Had to Say

Most users found the music relaxing and soothing. Listeners who suffer from anxiety find it helpful in calming their nerves.

How to Choose the Best Calming Music for Sleep – Buyer’s Guide

When choosing the best calming music to help you sleep, here are a few things to remember.

Lyrics

The widely-accepted rule when it comes to relaxing bedtime music is that lyrics are a no-go. They tend to take your mind back to events that may aggravate your anxiety. Listen to soothing instrumental music instead to help calm you.

Tempo

A song’s tempo refers to the rate of the beat. Music can have a high tempo with fast beats or a low one with slow beats. Music for sleep should have a slow tempo of between 60 and 80 beats per minute (BPM) which matches the average person’s resting heart rate.

Environment

Your sleeping environment will also determine the type of music to listen to at bedtime. Calming music is generally preferred if you live in a relatively quiet space. If you live in a place with disruptive noise, consider listening to white noise instead.

Bottom Line

If you usually have difficulty falling asleep, it might take trial and error to find the best calming music that works for you. The albums we’ve reviewed in this guide would be a great starting point.

In the meantime, have you tried listening to ancient Solfeggio scale frequencies to help you relax? Read more about their benefits here.

FAQ

What is the best calming music for sleep?

Instrumental music is the most effective genre for helping people sleep. You can’t go wrong with orchestral, piano, and acoustic guitar music.

Is white noise or calming music better for sleep?

It depends on your environment. If you live somewhere noisy, white noise is effective in drowning out unwanted sound. Calming instrumental music is better for individuals who live in relatively quiet places.

Can I become dependent on calming music for sleep?

Yes, you can. However, if you’re already having a hard time falling asleep as it is, it won’t make much of a difference in the long run since you won’t be able to sleep without it anyway.

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