Music helps you sleep, and although it depends on the type of music you choose, music has proven effects upon your physical wellbeing and sleep patterns.
The good news is that there is a wide range of gadgets to listen to music while in bed, so if you are an insomniac or light sleeper, you can find an easy solution that will leave you feeling alert and refreshed each morning.
How does listening to music affect the body?
Music has the power to soothe the savage beast, according to the 18th century English author William Congrave and it seems that recent scientific studies agree with him.
Music does not only entertain us and change our mood; it affects the parasympathetic nervous system, the body’s system that deals with relaxation and digestion.
When you are ready to sleep, the parasympathetic nervous system slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure; it reduces body temperature and relaxes the muscles.
Scientific studies show that certain types of music have the same physical effects, so listening to music before you sleep, actually boosts this response
Listening to music also changes your hormone levels. It increases sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and oxytocin while at the same time decreases the body’s stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, helping you relax into sleep.
As an added advantage, music helps to block out external noise such as a snoring partner or a busy road, so you are less likely to be kept awake by external noise disturbance.
Many people are light sleepers and are disturbed by even moderate sounds, so music provides a safe way to relieve insomnia without the need for medication.
A survey carried out on older people who reported trouble in sleeping found that listening to 45 minutes of music improved their night’s sleep.
The same effect was noted in younger people, so the music effect is the same across the board and not dependent on age.
Both groups reported far better sleep patterns on the nights that they listened to music when compared with the nights that they did not.
So What Sort of Music should you listen to?
Obviously, not all music will help you sleep.
Heavy metal, dance music, rock, and music that is too loud and fast will have the opposite effect. I
nstead, you should choose light classical music, smooth jazz, or anything that you like as long as it is relatively peaceful, and it does not keep you awake or make you feel anxious.
According to research, a rhythm between 60 and 80 BPM (beats per minute) works best for inducing sleep.
You can find songs with this specific purpose in mind on streaming services such as Spotify, but this tempo does give you a wide choice of slow pop songs, country, and acoustic, so there will be something for everyone.
You can also listen to favorite songs that fall into this category, and much-loved music that makes you happy or helps you remember happy occasions is a great way to boost your mood as you sleep.
Joyful uplifting music as you sleep can affect your dreams.
As your body enters the first stage of sleep (non REM sleep), your brain is in a receptive semi-hypnotic state that is open to outside influences.
Reinforcing positive feelings through music will help you go to sleep in a happy frame of mind and may lead to improved dreams.
Gadgets to listen to music while in bed
If you want to listen to music in bed, you will need a way to do it without disturbing other sleepers.
If you sleep alone, you could probably set your smartphone to a playlist and set to a timer, but a better option is to use something designed specifically for the purpose.
There are sleep headphones that are comfortable enough to sleep in and enable you to listen to music without disturbing anyone else.
These range from sleep headbands to soft on-ear headphones, which are comfortable enough to fall asleep in.
For real music fans, it is essential to choose high-quality headphones, so you are not distracted or irritated by the low sound quality.
However, many of these are extremely good, and you may find that once you have tried them in bed, you use them all the time to replace your usual headphones.
You can also find smart pillows with built-in speakers for added comfort. T
These send the sound up through the pillow, and you also get the benefit of the vibrations of the music, which seem to enter your body in an overwhelming musical experience.
Easily controllable via your smartphone app, you can set your pillow to play just what you like at the correct volume, and in some cases, a sensor will signal when you are asleep, so it automatically switches off.