- Listening to music to fall asleep is a common method that helps many people.
- Researchers analyzed nearly 1,000 music playlists on Spotify with the goal of inducing sleep.
- Many playlists were filled with energetic tracks not normally associated with sleep.
It can be hard to find common ground between the children’s lullaby “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and BTS’ k-pop hit “Dynamite.”
It turns out that both songs are often used to help people fall asleep.
So did the researchers, whose findings were published today in a scientific journal. pro swan.
The researchers cited previous research showing that nearly half of those interviewed use music to fall asleep.
However, despite how common this practice is, there are few detailed studies of what types of music people actually listen to for this purpose.
In the study, researchers looked at data from the audio streaming service Spotify to determine what types of music people listen to to fall asleep.
Although the data was anonymized, the researchers noted that Spotify is used in 92 countries, with people of all ages using the music streaming service. They believe this makes their research the most global study of sleep music ever.
To do the analysis, the researchers first created a list of all playlists that contained variations of the word “sleep” in any language, then non-musical (podcasts, nature sounds, etc.) but with the intention to sleep. Removed results that were not (such as a band name that contains the word “sleep”) or had less than 100 followers than her.
This left us with 986 playlists containing 130,150 unique tracks. The researchers then statistically analyzed these tracks and grouped them into clusters based on characteristics such as tempo, loudness and energy.
The largest cluster consisted of surrounding tracks, which the researchers expected.
But other large clusters were filled with contemporary radio tracks, including pop hits and indie tracks.
A previous self-reported study found that classical and instrumental music were among the most commonly used genres for sleep music.
Researchers reported that a surprising result of the new study is that both genres appear less often than pop or rap.
“The human brain is a pattern recognizer, and I really enjoy getting it right,” says Physician, who is dual-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine, and has experience with Menlo Park psychiatry and sleep medicine in California. Brainfood MD founder Dr. Alex Dimitriu said.
According to Dimitriu, very danceable or energetic tunes can actually help someone fall asleep under the right conditions.
“These songs could have been structured, symmetrical, and predictable without big transitions or abrupt changes in tempo or intensity,” Dimitriu told Healthline.
To increase your chances of falling asleep while listening to energetic music, familiarity with the music also helps.
“Novelty is also what wakes the brain up. Music, fast or slow, is likely to be needed. [a] Lack of ‘novelty’ or surprises to help sleep,” Dimitriu said.
Dr. Kuljeet (Kelly) Gill, a sleep medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Illinois, told Healthline.
It’s not necessarily the danceability of the music that determines whether someone can fall asleep listening to it.
“The difference is whether the music is highly emotional or emotion-inducing. For some people, upbeat music may be calming,” Gill said.
Many people use music to fall asleep, is it a good idea?
“Music is great for falling asleep as long as it’s not too stimulating,” Dimitriu said.
“Of all the things people try to do to sleep, music is one of the best. I can listen to music even in the dark, so I can get a deep sleep,” added Dimitriou.
For a healthy sleep after listening to music, Dimitriu recommends:
- If you don’t wear the headphones, they may have to be removed or become entangled in cords.
- Use Sleep Timer to automatically turn off your music.
- Follow common practices for good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding screen time before bed and going to bed at the same time each night.
“The most important part of sleep is a very strict sleep and wake schedule. It sounds simple and obvious, but it is not easy to implement. Defending is a very important part of training to sleep well,” Gill said.
“Your sleep routine can include cues to go to sleep at the same time each day. Music can be that signal,” she added.