What do you hear to fall asleep

Music to help you fall asleep - annoying or helpful?

Can Music Help You Fall Asleep?

Getting enough and restful sleep is important. And to relax after a long day full of stress and tension is often not that easy. Surely you know the feeling of tossing yourself from side to side for hours and just not finding your way to sleep. The next day is then in the bucket, you can hardly concentrate and are easily irritable. If such a situation becomes permanent, it can lead to serious health problems. In the long term, lack of sleep promotes diseases such as type II diabetes, obesity or depression. [1] This is why many people are looking for aids to help them fall asleep and stay asleep better, even apart from conventional treatment methods.

One of these tools is music. And all cultures in the world make use of their effects. Your parents may have sung you a lullaby every now and then when it was time to go to bed. Music and sleep are also closely linked in our culture. In the following sections, you will find out how music can help you fall asleep and what kind of music is best for it.

Difficulty falling asleep - a common problem

In a Statista survey from 2016, almost half of all men surveyed and almost 40 percent of women said they often had trouble falling asleep. In the age group from 18 to 29 years, only twelve percent of those questioned claimed that they had no sleep problems at all. [2] Insufficient or poor sleep is a problem that many people struggle with. The causes can be varied. Stress at work or in the family, noisy neighbors, a cold or an uncomfortable mattress. Luxury foods such as coffee, alcohol or medication can also have a negative effect on your sleep. [3]

The right atmosphere for a good night's sleep

Unfortunately, there is no secret recipe for falling asleep. It is important to create an atmosphere in which you feel comfortable and can relax. A comfortable mattress, the fresh smell of the bed linen, dimmed light, a comfortably furnished room, a pleasant background noise and many other factors together with your thoughts and feelings create the atmosphere. So you have many starting points that you can influence. [4]

Falling asleep properly does not mean isolating yourself as much as possible from all stimuli. The psychologist Walter Hess found that sleep is also caused by stimulating regions of the brain. The right background noise or music can both disturb and support you when falling asleep. [5]

Alert through sleep - which sounds disturb us?

People react differently to stimuli from their environment. For example, many people claim that they can sleep best with the television on. Others, on the other hand, are very sensitive and can be disturbed by the slightest noise. In any case, you should be aware that your brain continuously checks the sounds from your surroundings for possible dangers, even while you sleep. If a stimulus is classified as dangerous, you wake up briefly so that you can react if necessary. If this happens too often, your sleep will be less restful, even if you may not even notice it.

The boundaries between noise and a pleasant background noise, in our case for example the right sleep music, are certainly fluid. Nevertheless, a few basic rules can be adhered to. The background noise should be relatively quiet and without major fluctuations or irritations. It can be assumed that people can fall asleep reasonably well in front of the television, but cannot really get a good night's sleep. [6]

Which music works best?

So if you need help falling asleep, it is best not to use the TV, but rather to relax with music. Here you can decide for yourself which music you listen to and how the melody develops. It is best to choose quiet music with little dynamics and no or at least not strongly emphasized rhythm elements. You can find a large selection for this on YouTube or Spotify, for example. If you don't want to laboriously find your relaxation music yourself, Spotify offers you ready-made playlists, such as the Sleep playlist, in which different pieces of music on the topic are put together for you. Once you've downloaded such a playlist, you can access your sleep music on your mobile phone or computer without internet access.

But be careful, if you associate soothing music with negative memories, it can also be a hindrance to falling asleep. You shouldn't take your favorite music either. You associate too many feelings with her. It upsets you and prevents you from letting go and relaxing. [7]

What effect does music have on your body?

If you listen to calming music, many effects can be observed on you when falling asleep, but also in other situations. Quiet music to fall asleep or meditation music lowers your blood pressure, your pulse and your breathing slow down and parts of your nervous system act subconsciously on your body and make you calmer. This is how you reach the first stage of sleep, a kind of transition stage between waking and sleeping. When you fall asleep, you isolate yourself a little from your surroundings, but the activity in your brain is not less, it is simply reorganized. You continue to perceive certain stimuli from your environment. In the case of noises, it is not just the volume that matters, but also the quality. Even very quiet noises can be classified as dangerous and lead to waking up. [8th]

Music and Sleep in Science

There is a lot of medical research into how music affects us and our sleep behavior. Positive effects have been shown in several studies in children, adults and the elderly. The researchers were able to observe that the right music not only shortens the periods of falling asleep, but also reduces the short waking phases that occur throughout the night.

Scientists at the Beth-Israel Medical Center, for example, investigated whether the sleeping pill chlorine hydrate, which is used to immobilize babies during medical examinations, can be replaced by music. In this study, attention was also paid to creating a feel-good atmosphere for the babies. As a result, the music used was similarly effective. The babies' sleep times were shorter than with chlorine hydrate, but completely sufficient for the medical examinations. [9] Another study tested the effects of music on falling asleep on depressed patients. The patients fell asleep much faster, but the music did not improve their depression. [10]

Music or radio play - what works better?

Radio plays can help you relax, especially in the evening, but simple music is better for sleeping. In several studies, falling asleep music showed a significantly stronger effect than radio plays. [11] Radio plays or guided meditation can help you relax before bed. sonamedic offers you an extensive range of relaxation and meditation exercises with which you can free yourself from disturbing thoughts and come to rest. With our soothing sleep music and the matching binaural beats, you can easily find your way to sleep.

Can music replace sleep medication?

Everyone is different and so it is of course difficult to make clear statements. Several studies, such as the previously mentioned study on chlorine hydrate in children, indicate that music can be as effective as sleeping pills. At least, however, it is an additional means of enhancing a desired effect. The advantage of music is, of course, that it has no side effects, so that if it fails you can easily switch to another form of therapy. [12]



1) Norbert Lossau: Article: Welt.de, accessed on August 23, 2019. On-line
2) Statista.com: Survey on selected problems falling asleep or sleeping in Germany by gender in 2016, accessed on August 20, 2019. On-line
3) Andreas-Blank-Koppenleitner: Pharmacy review: Accessed on 08/20/2019. On-line
4) Julia Jung: weaving moods. An educational study on the design of atmospheres, 2018, page 11. Online
5) Veronika Reis, diploma thesis: Music and Sleep, 2013, page 7. Online
6) Veronika Reis, diploma thesis: Music and Sleep, 2013, pages 35 - 36. Online
7) Veronika Reis, diploma thesis: Music and Sleep, 2013, page 41. Online
8) Veronika Reis, diploma thesis: Music and Sleep, 2013, pages 10 - 12. Online
9) Lowley, J. / Hallan, C. / Friedman, E / Martinez, C., Beth Israel Medical Center, NY 10003, USA, 2005, Sleep / sedation in children undergoing EEG testing: a comparison of chloral hydrate and music therapy . On-line
10) Deshmukh, Abhijeet D / Sarvaya, Avani A. / Seethalakshmi, R. / Nayak, Ajita S .: Effect of Indian classical music on quality of sleep in depressed patients: A randomized controlled trial, 2009. Online
11) Veronika Reis, diploma thesis: Music and Sleep, 2013, page 53. Online
12) Veronika Reis, diploma thesis: Music and Sleep, 2013, page 51. Online