From the time we’re born, we use lullabies or baby music for sleeping or comforting infants. In fact, some cultures have been using music for sleeping and relaxation all the way back to the Romans and Greeks. And why not – relaxing music for sleeping makes sense. 

Is Sleeping with Music Good?

Music has the ability to liven things up or slow things down. If you have ever had trouble falling asleep because the next-door neighbor has the party music turned up, you can understand that music affects our mood as well as our ability to sleep. But if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, music can be a solution that’s natural and doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish the next day.
Here are some ways that the right type of music can affect the mind and body before sleep creating the perfect environment to drift off:
  • It influences breathing and slows your heart rate 
  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Triggers your body to release hormones that promote sleep, like serotonin and oxytocin
  • It stimulates the immune system
  • Eases muscle tension 
  • Reduces anxiety and the stress we feel
  • It can even reduce cortisol and has been shown to help reduce insomnia
Listening to music at bedtime and while falling asleep can actually improve your overall sleep quality allowing you to get a more restful night and wake more refreshed. Besides benefitting from the physiological changes, like lower blood pressure, slower breathing, slower heart rate, you also have a much more relaxed emotional state from lower stress. 

Nighttime Repairs Happen More Easily

It gives your brain and body the chance to do the things that they were designed to do while sleeping including:
  • Allowing your brain to process and sort the day’s events and memories. It is literally how long-term memories are created and can be especially helpful for seniors.
  • Your pituitary gland releases growth hormone to be used in repairing tissue and muscle.
  • Your muscles relax almost to the point of paralyzation, especially during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycles (some experts say that is so that you don’t act out on your dreams). 
  • The immune system releases cytokines, small proteins that help fight inflammation and infection. So the next time you’re sick and someone tells you to get enough rest…pay attention.
  • Your sympathetic nervous system relaxes which lowers blood pressure and may impact heart disease.

What Music is Best for Sleeping?

There are so many genres of music, but with streaming services and YouTube there are endless compilations available for just about any imaginable event or situation and sleeping/relaxation music is no different. Try several and see which one works the best.

Nature Sounds

Rainfall, babbling brooks, thunderstorms, waves crashing – there are all sorts of nature sounds that have been recorded to play while you sleep. Some have music, usually soft piano music, accompanying the sounds but often it’s just the nature sounds lulling you to drift off. 

Classical Music

If you have ever avoided a classical concert or thought this type of music wasn’t your cup of tea, relax it will put you right to sleep! Classical music for sleeping usually includes slower, softer symphonies and sonatas, like Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2, Op. 9 or Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Specifically, any classical piano pieces that have a gentle, alluring tempo and that are usually unadorned by other instruments.

Contemporary Classical

Like it’s more traditional cousin, contemporary classical music for sleeping usually includes piano pieces from artists alive today. 

Cool Jazz or New Age

A style that started in the 80s and 90s and is characterized by smooth and relaxed tempos. Unlike traditional jazz, this music has less improvisation and is more structured, making it perfect for sleeping and relaxation.

Chill Out or Ambient 
This style of music features relaxing instrumental music that is designed to create atmosphere and lacking in composition or structure and can be less distracting than music that has a traditional structure or rhythm.


Meditation music for sleeping is performed to relax the body and mind with beautiful, meditative sounds. It is even less focused on structure than ambient music and are long play, meaning they glide along without having a beginning or end.

​Additional Tips on Getting the Best Night Sleep with Music

​Here are a few additional tips on using music for sleeping: 

  • Avoid emotional triggers — When selecting your play list or source, don’t include any songs that will make you sad or mournful…avoid break-up songs that remind you of a long lost love. 
  • Acoustic is best — Piano or guitar, played acoustically and unadorned, will provide the most relaxing setting for drifting off to sleep. Singing or voices tend to be distracting and cause you to focus your attention rather than let go.
  • Slow and relaxing — Whatever genre works best, remember to search out slow and relaxing playlists. You don’t want to find yourself tapping along to the beat!
  • Avoid earbuds that can damage ears or have wires — As a safety concern, it’s better to not use earbuds while you sleep.