Many people suffer from sleep problems, and putting on relaxing music at night is one way that people try to improve sleep in a safe and natural way.
But is there actual research suggesting that music at night can improve sleep quality or reduce time-to-sleep? If so, what type of music is the most effective? And what's the best website for sleep music?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review some interesting medical studies on music as a sleep aid to find out if there's research backing this approach, and to determine if the type of music makes a difference.
We'll also share our pick for the best online music platform for sleep music, and share one of our favorite sleep music soundtracks.
Does Sleep Music Actually Work?
Surprisingly, there is actually a significant amount of medical research on the use of music as a sleep aid.
A clinical trial published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing compared three methods for improving sleep: listening to music, listening to audiobooks and doing nothing (control group). Listening to music before sleep significantly improved sleep quality while the other methods made no difference.
Another clinical trial, this time with an older population, reported similar results. The group listening to music had better sleep outcomes than the control group. Not only was sleep quality improved, but also sleep duration, and trial participants also experienced fewer sleep disturbance and less daytime dysfunction.
What’s fascinating about this second study is that the researchers found a dose-dependent response. This means that sleep quality improvements were greater in later weeks than in earlier weeks, even though the sleep music treatment was exactly the same.
This suggests that people trying relaxing music to improve their sleep may want to give it a few weeks before deciding whether to continue or exit the program, since the benefits may compound.
A third clinical trial published in the Journal of Music Therapy found that not only was sleep music effective for improving sleep quality in patients with schizophrenia, but it also improved their emotional state. Their situational anxiety significantly decreased.
We will conclude from the available research that listening to relaxing music before sleep is likely to improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
Does the Type of Music Matter?
A wide range of music was used in the clinical trials on sleep music. The first trial used classical music. The second used "sedative music tapes" but failed to categorize the music. What was consistent throughout all of the trials we reviewed was that the music was intended to be relaxing.
The perfect “relaxation music” will vary person-to-person. Relaxing is a subjective term, since it’s culturally defined. Music that’s relaxing to one person may be exciting or stressful to another.
But if the sleep music is relaxing to you as the listener, that seems to be the determinant for whether or not it’s likely to be effective.
So we’d recommend that people considering sleep music as a natural way to improve sleep quality choose any type of music that they personally find relaxing, rather than try to mimic music used in any of the studies.
Where Can I Find Sleep Music?
There are many playlists and songs on YouTube and Spotify that can be accessed for free that are titled “sleep music” or “relaxation music.”
We recommend trying out different types until you find one that you find relaxing.
Most of the medical studies leveraged sleep music for a fixed period of time (like 45 minutes before bed), but you may want to keep the music playing throughout the night, especially if you live in a noisy area. You can set YouTube videos to loop prior to going to sleep if this is your goal.
We personally like this peaceful video by the "Soothing Relaxation" channel on YouTube:
Our Clean Sleep Picks
There are sleep products with ingredients and materials clinically shown to improve sleep quality.
Sleep Mode from Bulletproof is our top sleep supplement pick.
It contains melatonin which is arguably the most well-studied sleep inducer, along with l-ornithine which is an amino acid that's clinically shown to reduce cortisol and improve sleep quality at the same dose as in Sleep Mode.
Interested consumers can check out Sleep Mode at this link to the product page on Bulletproof's official website, where it currently retails for under $30.
Nolah Weighted Bamboo Blanket is a great option for consumers who prefer non-supplement solutions for sleep. Weighted blankets are clinically shown to improve sleep quality in both older adults and in children, and early research suggests they may also reduce anxiety.
Interested consumers can check out Nolah Weighted Bamboo Blanket at this link to the product page on the official brand website, where it’s currently retailing for under $100.
Manta Sleep Mask is the most cost-effective sleep solution, because it’s only $35 and will last for years. A 2021 clinical trial found that eye mask and ear plug use improved sleep quality in ICU patients. Manta’s mask comes with ear plugs.
We can't locate any medical studies on sleep mask use in healthy patients, but it seems logical that the same effects would hold given that light exposure during sleep negatively impacts sleep quality.
Interested consumers can check out Manta Sleep Mask at this link to the product page on the official brand website.