Music That Will Actually Help You Fall Asleep

Given all the stressful situations going on in the world, especially after two years of living through a global pandemic, it makes sense if you have trouble falling asleep these days. In fact, according to the American Sleep Association (ASA), 30% of Americans report having insomnia; 10% report experiencing chronic insomnia.

If you are not getting enough sleep due to insomnia, some other sleep disorder, or life's daily stresses, it is important that you make changes in your lifestyle to get the amount of sleep you need. This is because sleep is integral to your brain function, mood, and general health. Over time, if you don't get enough consistent, good-quality sleep, you may be more susceptible to disorders and diseases, such as heart disease and obesity (via National Institutes of Health).

According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, some ways you can help to get back on track with a good night's sleep include getting in physical activity every day, managing stress through journaling and meditation before bed, and making your room comfortable through lighting and temperature control. Another option is listening to music designed to help send you off to dreamland.

Pick sleep music that works for you

If you struggle to enjoy a good night's sleep, consider trying "sleep music" to help catch the proper amount of zzzs. While the genre is somewhat undefined, as different types of music will affect people differently, sleep music is comprised of pleasing elements related to melody, harmony, timbre, and other components designed to have a positive neurological effect, Carlos M. Barata, a board-certified music therapist tells Shape. Oftentimes, though, sleep music will integrate elements of jazz, instrumental, classical, or new age music, among others, explains Barata.

The reason why more people are looking to music before bed as the silver bullet for better sleep is that it helps you relax, distracts you from stressful thoughts, and gets you in sync with your breath, ​​Thomas Dickson, Ph.D., an expert in the psychology of music as a sleep aid, tells Shape. Relaxing music triggers changes in your body that encourage sleep and soothe the emotional brain, says clinical psychologist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D. One 2021 study published in Brain Science showed that listening to music can reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

If you are someone who wants to try falling asleep to music, expect some trial and error as you figure out the best sleep music for you. Also, you will need to decide if headphones work best or not. And you will probably need to play with the timing, though research points to an hour before you want to fall asleep as the optimal time to press "play" (via Shape).