Are you one of millions of people around the globe who spend their nights tossing and turning, only to wake feeling tired, groggy, and cranky? You certainly aren’t alone. Many people have difficulties sleeping, and most are willing to try nearly anything to help them catch some Z’s.
Sleep is vital to overall health. It allows both our minds and bodies to get the rest needed to function optimally. Losing even an hour of sleep each night has been linked to moodiness and decreased cognitive abilities. Regularly losing two or more hours of sleep each night can significantly increase a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and muscle injury. Going without sleep at all can cause disconnection, desensitization, or psychosis.
Scientists have long touted the benefits of playing an instrument, but recent studies are showing that some of these benefits may be also be reaped simply by listening to certain types of music. Calm, relaxing music has been proven to help with sleep and provide other key benefits simultaneously. It could be that relaxing music is exactly what you need to help get that restful night’s sleep you so desperately desire.
Today we look at five key benefits that relaxing sleep music has been scientifically proven to provide, both directly and indirectly related to sleep. We’ll also briefly discuss which types of music are considered superior sleeping aids.
1: Increased Levels of Serotonin
Serotonin has been appropriately nicknamed the “happiness neurotransmitter” by scientists and the medical community. Besides making you feel happier overall, an increase in serotonin levels leads to better cognitive processing - meaning that you think more clearly and have a greater ability towards problem solving. With better mood, you often have improved learning capabilities, and of course, a deeper, sounder sleep that allows you to be more refreshed come morning.
2: Stress Reduction
Music has the amazing ability to lower stress levels by “speaking to” or targeting certain areas of the brain. Stress can pose significant detriment to your sleep and quality of life in general. When stress is relieved, your mind functions better, memory improves, and sleep is less interrupted. To reap the most stress reducing benefits, you can pair your relaxing music with deep breathing techniques commonly found in meditation or yoga.
3: Combat Mental Disorders
While relaxing sleep music is obviously not a cure for mental disorders, it is an easy, affordable method to include in almost any treatment plan. The primary disorders managed with music therapy are depression and anxiety. With depression, individuals have decreased levels of serotonin naturally. Symptoms are relieved when these levels are increased. Anxiety sufferers can also greatly benefit from reduced stress levels, and deeper relaxation.
4: Soothes Infants
This is a big benefit for all frustrated parents. When baby can’t sleep, mom and dad can’t either. It’s important to realize that being an infant – up until about one year old – can be very stressful. Babies are adjusting to life outside the womb, and their ability to communicate emotions is limited to cries. They are constantly growing, which can cause aches, and they suffer from excessive amounts of gas due to a developing digestion system – not to mention teething.
Lullabies have been used for centuries to calm babies. They work so well because music has been proven to bring order to their disrupted thinking processes, soothe negative emotions, and increase happiness. As a bonus, music also helps with the bonding process between baby and parent.
5: Decreases Interruption
Playing music at your bedside will decrease the background noises which often interrupt sleep before REM. When a room is silent, the mind is programed to seek out and identify noise. This is a subconscious reaction left over from the days when we relied on our instincts for survival. When a steady tune is played, your mind is given a noise to focus on. Consequently, individuals can fall asleep quicker, sleep deeper, and wake less often.
What Kind of Music Works Best for Sleep?
There are numerous genres of music, and everyone has their own unique preferences. Of course, the music chosen should be something you enjoy, but there are certain genres that work best for use as a sleep aid. These genres include: classical