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How Sounds and Music Affect Sleep


Did you know that 62% of people around the globe have problems with sleep? As it is one of the pillars of our life, it seems like a crazy statistic, right?

Noise is the third most cited reason for people not to get a good enough sleep at night. It can be your partner moving, snoring next to you in bed, or just the noise coming from the street. If you want a better quality of sleep, you should consider getting earplugs or finding a way to fully relax right before bed and dive into a state of deep sleep.

One of the ways to do it is with specific calming sounds or calming music. Music is a beautiful and complex form of art – everyone knows it can help move the crowd. But at the same time, it can be a great tool to improve focus and relaxation and get better quality sleep.

Why does music affect sleep?

Let's get down to the basics. Sound waves coming into the ear are converted into electrical signals in the brain. So your brain interprets these sounds, and a stream of physical effects trigger your body. Many of these effects either directly start relaxing your body and slowly evoking sleep or reduce issues that could interfere with sleep quality.

A number of studies show that music enhances sleep because it affects the regulation of certain hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol. It is believed that listening to music helps to decrease cortisol levels, which may explain why it helps people relax and reduce stress levels.

It is also found that music triggers the release of dopamine, a hormone your body releases once you do something that gives you pleasure, like eating, shopping, and smelling freshly baked cookies. Dopamine release can boost pleasurable feelings at bedtime and address pain, which is another common cause of sleep troubles. In other words, music's physical and psychological responses may reduce acute and chronic physical pain.

People who tend to have poor sleep quality associate their bedrooms (sometimes unwillingly) with a place of sleepless nights that come from troubling and anxious thoughts. Music can counteract this, helping to distract you from wakeful thoughts, calming your mood, and relaxing your body.

How can music help you fall asleep?

In one study, adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before going to sleep reported that the quality of their sleep improved on the same night.

But like trying to improve your general quality of life by going to the gym or eating cleanly, it takes some time to feel the long-term results.

In other words, the benefit of listening to calming music appears to have a cumulative effect, with people reporting better sleep the more often they incorporate music into their nightly routine. So, for you to properly feel the results, you should try it for at least a month to truly notice the more significant improvement.

Other studies looked beyond the bedroom. The place usually voted as the worst spot to get a decent night's sleep is: the hospital. All the noises you are not used to, the beeping, the rustling of other people, steps in the hallway, and more usually stress the patients.

The studies show that incorporating white noise into the hospital's environment completely eliminates the negative effect of the hospital's sleeping conditions.

What type of music can improve your sleep?

I want to share my top three songs that I find very soothing and help me to fall asleep more soundly.

  • The number one is by Marconi Union called Weightless. It is a great place to start as it has been recognized as one of the best music pieces that enhance sleep.
  • My second pick is the classic Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2 by Chopin. It is such a familiar sound that it washes your mind away with the flowing music and relaxes you instantly.
  • The third track is by Claude Debussy: Clair de Lune.

What music helps you to relax and get that good night's sleep? How did Marconi's piece affect you?

If you don't have no time to look for the perfect music that helps you, I suggest trying sleeping apps like the Can't Sleep app. Sleeping apps have a wide range of different sounds and songs that can be tailored to your taste or needs.

But sleep experts and scientists do not stop there. There is a plan to create an app that would create custom music that adapts to your pulse, which should help you to relax and fall asleep even faster. Can’t wait to test that.

How do you make music part of your nightly routine?

With sleep apps, headphones, and portable speakers, it's easier to take advantage of the power of music no matter where you are. Given music's accessibility and the potential to improve your sleep, it might be a good time to try adding it to your nightly routine.

Where do you start?

Here are a few tips:

  • Make it a habit: Routine is a key to keeping your body and mind healthy. Create pleasurable and relaxing evening rituals that give the body sufficient time to wind down and incorporate music in a calming way, as if you were at a spa.
  • Find the songs you like: If a ready-made playlist isn't working for you, try creating a mix of songs that you find enjoyable. While many people can relax with slower-tempo pieces, others may discover relaxation with more upbeat music. It is a matter of experimentation and finding out what works for you.
  • Choose something neutral: Avoid songs that cause strong emotional reactions. Listening to those while trying to sleep may bring back memories or thoughts and keep your mind spinning instead of helping you to relax.

Conclusion

Music can soothe you into a better quality sleep. Experiment with a playlist and keep up the music therapy for at least a month.

Key takeaways

62% of people around the globe have problems with sleep.

Music enhances sleep because it affects the regulation of certain hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol.

Adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before going to sleep reported that the quality of their sleep improved on the same night.

There are apps to help you sleep, which play a variety of sounds and songs.

Make music part of your nightly routine.

Resources:

Afshar, P.F. Bahramnezhad, F., Asgari, P., Shiri, M. (2016). Effect of White Noise on Sleep in Patients Admitted to a Coronary Care. J. Caring Sci.

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