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How Does Music Help You Fall Asleep?

Lights off, you wrap yourself in your favorite sheets, switch on your playlist and suddenly, life seems a lot better. 

Why? Because music speaks to your brainwaves. 

You probably know someone who can’t go a night without listening to music. It melts your stress away, even without you realizing it. It’s more than metaphors or imagination – studies have shown that music profoundly impacts your brain. You’ve probably tried listening to white noise, or your favorite song and instead of falling asleep, you lay there wide awake grooving to it. 

If this has happened to you, your sleep music preference needs to be changed to suit your mood, age and sleep needs. 

Did you know people listen to music before sleeping for four major reasons?

  • To change the mental state
  • To feel secure
  • As a distraction, or
  • Simply because of the force of habit. 

Certain types of music are more suited to certain needs, and that’s why you need an ultimate guide to help you understand how music impacts your brain, the best time to listen to sleep-inducing music according to your age and preferences, so you can re-engineer sleep and get a good night’s rest. 

We’ve put together a ready reckoner for you to fall asleep faster with the right sleep track.

Can Music Make Us Sleepy?

Studies show that about 40% of the UK's population is sleep deprived. Often people end up popping pills or supplements only to find they have secret side effects. In this scenario, one of the tried and tested methods to induce slow-wave sleep and have a greater sleep duration, efficiency and quality is to listen to music. 

Music has plenty of effects on your entire body, especially the nervous system. 

Did you know that listening to music before drifting off creates a new psychological link that alerts your system that it’s bedtime? Just as that song sinks into your system,

  • our mood is regulated
  • You toss and turn a lot less than before
  • Blood vessels dilate
  • Digestive juices are invigorated
  • Muscles relax

How Does Music Interact With Your Brain?

Music heads straight to the pockets of your brain that process emotions and rewards. That’s why you feel good and lose yourself in it. Music with high tempo can raise your heartbeat, and those with a low tempo can calm you immensely. 

Some studies report that when you listen to music with words or those that encourage your imagination, you continue imagining or processing the input even when you sleep, which may disrupt your deep sleep. 

It can single-handedly soothe your nerves, calm your anxiety, bring down cortisol (stress hormone) and ramp up oxytocin. It can alleviate negative thoughts and automatically puts you in a better mood. 

What Type of Music You Choose Before Bed Determines How Well You Sleep

The music type, duration and timing of listening affect how well you sleep that night. 

Keep these factors in mind before you embark on your quest to find the perfect sleep track:

  • Tempo
  • Loudness
  • Energy level
  • Acoustics
  • Instrumentals

Explore your favourite type of music from the list below and find out what works best for you. 

Music Type


Lower tempo, loudness and energy

Quicker, quality sleep & better daytime functioning

Slow tempo

Lower heart rate, lower activity in the brain, 

Low energy level, high instrumentals

Helps you sleep quicker

Familiar, repetitive music

Better relaxation, mood regulation

Sedative music, which has a tempo of 45-60 beats/minute

Lowers your heart rate and blood pressure

Classical music

Reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure

Regardless of the type, science posits that self-selected music is far better than auto-selected ones. The familiarity element takes away your anxiety. 

Impact of Music on Different Age Groups

As much as we all love losing ourselves in soul-soothing music, our minds and bodies respond differently to it, depending on our age. 

Infants & Toddlers

Studies have shown that music played in paediatric ICU raises oxygen saturation and relaxation among infants. Rain music is incredibly beneficial for infants and toddlers to nod off. Experts recommend parents turn off the music when the child begins to fall asleep. 

Elementary School Children

Any type of sedative music works best for elementary school children to improve sleep quality, efficiency and duration. After 3 weeks of listening to meditative music, the children are sure to show a profound impact. 


For this age group, slow-paced, low energy levels with sedative piano and white noise induce deep, restful sleep. It lengthens deep sleep and shows immense improvement in sleep quality. 


Some studies show that adults respond well to lullaby tunes that synchronise with their heartbeat. 


For those individuals, 60 years and older, Buddhist and classical music tends to induce sleep, and significantly enhance daytime attention, behaviour and alertness. 

How to Choose The Best Playlist for Uninterrupted Sleep

Here’s the thing – there’s no one standard guide for you to create your bedtime playlist. 

However, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose tracks that have a low tempo (45 beats/minute or lower)
  • Depending on your age group and how you want to rest
  • Based on your main reason for listening to music – relaxation, safety or distraction

You’ve all the information at hand now. Create a calming, comforting sleep environment with a plush mattress, dark room, cool temperature and sedative music and slowly venture into dreamland. 

Happy sleeping!

Vasantha Priya

Vasantha Priya

Vasantha Priya is a freelance content writer by day and a poet by night. She specialises in research-backed, long-form content for B2B & B2C brands. Vasantha strikes a chord with readers and drives action by establishing trust, thought leadership and authenticity. Apart from writing, she’s an English tutor and OD consultant. She also has an undying love for chocolates and sunsets.

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