By Oktay Ozadam
Is it good to listen to music while you sleep? Yes, it is, and there's some scientific research to prove it!
Research suggests that listening to music is a great way to fall asleep and has numerous physical and emotional benefits to everyone.
Listening to music in bed helps promote deep sleep, improving common sleep disturbances such as insomnia. As an added advantage, music can help block out night time noise such as a snoring partner or road noise.
How is your Body Affected by Music While sleeping?
Listening to music can help you relax because it has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system. This is an essential part of the nervous system that is all to do with controlling the body's functions for resting and sleep, often called "rest and digest" function. Directly affecting this response will cause you to relax and your body to prepare for sleep.
According to a scientific study, soothing music can reduce stress hormones cortisol and androgens, the part of the nervous system that helps us react to stress – known as the" fight or flee" response. Therefore it can help alleviate feelings of anxiety. This means that listening to some types of music can actually alter the body's hormone levels.
Remarkably the same study found that listening to music can increase plasticity in the brain so it may improve learning capabilities.
What are the Benefits of Listening to Music Before You Sleep?
Many people struggle with getting to sleep at night, and the benefit of listening to music is that it can help you get into the sleep zone by relaxing you.
Although we all have a different response to music, listening to familiar much-loved music can improve mood and feelings of wellbeing.
According to studies, listening to music can increase sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and oxytocin.
Physical benefits of listening to music while you go to sleep are that it can reduce heart rate and blood pressure and help you relax muscles.
What is the Best Type of Music to Listen to If You Want to Sleep?
We are all different, and we all like different types of music. But in general, if you are trying to get to sleep, slow, gentle music will be more effective than dance music or modern jazz!
Classical music, relaxing music or slow music with a rhythm of around 70 beats per minute ( 70 BMP) can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure because your body will copy the beat of a song.
The general rule of thumb is that the beats should be around 60 – 80 BPM because this can slow the heart rate.
Anything else is up to you; whether you like classical music, old chart hits, reggae, smooth jazz, chill-out ambient music or electronic beats, you will soon find the perfect music to soothe you to sleep.
Listening to anything too loud or too fast, such as old skool rave (170 -200BPM ) or hardcore drum and bass ( 165-185 BPM), heavy metal or anything too challenging and discordant such as modern jazz is more likely to keep you awake and induce anxiety rather than sooth you into sleep!
Does Listening to Music While You Sleep Affect your Dreams?
Listening to music as you fall asleep may affect your dreams.
As your body enters the 1st stage of sleep ( non REM sleep), your brain changes from daytime patterns and enters a semi-hypnotic state where it produces alpha waves.
In this state, your brain is receptive to outside influences, so soft or calming joyful music will have a positive effect upon your happiness and mood that should carry over into deeper sleep.
Some evidence suggests that listening to music as you sleep may cause you to hear music in your dreams. But there are no real facts and figures to support this, beyond anecdotal accounts.
Can Listening to Music Cure Insomnia?
According to studies, it can. Music can help improve sleep quality. If you are an insomniac, you may find that the subsequent deep sleep caused by music may help you sleep through the night, rather than the constant pattern of wakefulness experienced by so many people.
A study carried out at the Center of Music in the Brain in Aahaus Denmark, published a paper based on six separate studies carried out on 314 people who had insomnia.
The participants listened to music for between 25 and 60 minutes before falling asleep throughout 3 to 35 nights.
The results were extremely positive, leading to the overall conclusion that listening to music is a side effect free method of improving sleep, health, and wellbeing.
How Can You Listen to Music in Bed?
Listening to music as you fall asleep will probably help you sleep better, but there can be some problems with doing this. Such as will it disturb your partner? And do you really want to sleep all night wearing headphones or attached to a sound system because this does not sound a comfortable solution?
Let's look at the options.
- Generic headphones can be bulky, and even wireless internal ear headphones may irritate your ears if worn for too long.
- Sleep Earplugs. These are specifically designed for sleep, and as well as blocking out external noise, you can also use them for listening to music. One brand the– maxrock sleep earplugs feature soft silicone earplugs that will suit you whether you are a back or side sleeper.
- On-Ear Sleep Headphones. Not everyone can tolerate internal ear tips, but luckily there are other options on the market.
- Headband Headphones: Moving completely away from headphones that fit in the ears, headband headphones are just that; a comfortable headband that you wear around your head and which comes equipped with speakers.
- Smart Pillows
Many people report sleeping in their regular headphones with mixed results. However, two brands, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 and the Shure se215 stand out as reasonably comfortable to sleep in and although they are not designed for this function, they may be adequate for occasional use.
Luckily there are sleep headphones on the market that are specifically tailored to this issue.
The tips are ergonomically designed to fit into your ears and will cut out any background noise.
This means that if you want to drift off to music while your partner is watching an action movie, or snoring, you will not be disturbed.
Dubslabs Bedphones are billed as the world's smallest on-ear headphones. Lightweight and comfortable, they rest against the ear rather than entering the ear canal. It will appeal to anyone with sensitive ears who still wants to listen to music or block out external noise.
The earphones are less than 1.4" thick and will suit you whether you are a side sleeper or move around a lot in your sleep.
The Dubslabs Bedphones come with a playlist of soothing nature sounds, but you can also choose your own music.
This comfortable headphone set offers great sound quality without compromising on sleep comfort. If you are serious about your music, on-ear headphones may be the best option.
Two brands have caught our eye; Cozyphones – a comfortable headband that comes decorated with cute animal faces making it very suitable for children.
There is also SleepPhones aimed more at the adult market and available in a range of peaceful colors.
Innovative, comfortable, and suitable for a range of purposes, headband headphones provide the excellent quality sound as well as blocking out external noise.
İf you struggle with the inconvenience and discomfort of ordinary headphones, headband headphones may be a practical solution. Sound quality may not be as good as high-quality headphones, but comfort rating is high!
Smart pillows offer another option for listening to music before sleeping without the use of headphones. Constructed with memory foam for comfort and fitted with internal speakers, a smart pillow can help you sleep. It comes with a range of smart options such as a vibration alarm clock, sleep timer, and more.
Zeeq Smart Pillow comes with 8 in pillow speakers and is integrated with Amazon Alexa so that you can control it as you doze. İt also helps analyze sleep and is compatible with multiple streaming services, including Spotify.
DreamPad features a patented sound system that works through vibration. The sound travels up from the base of the pillow and according to the product information, signals your central nervous system that it is time to sleep.
There is very little information regarding the sound quality of smart pillows, so this option may not suit you if you are serious about your music.