And You Thought Lullabies Were Just For Babies

Ever sine I can remember, I have always listened to music while I was trying to sleep. Last night as I picked a song to sleep to, I was really curious if there were benefits or if sleeping with music at night was an actual thing. I then got extremely curious about what types of songs matter when you sleep, especially since I ABSOLUTELY need to have the song I’m listening to on repeat for the whole night and that I almost always pick the same type of song. I also know, from a personal experience, that some people take medication to sleep but is that entirely necessary if music can provide the same benefits?  I did a little research and this is what I found.

sleep insomnia

I had a little trouble at first finding something that looked reliable, factual, and not like an add for some sleep therapy. I then turned to the scholarly articles on goog
le and found an amazing source that conducted a study and everything. They defined sleep as a rhythmic process that can be altered as one ages over the years.  They, unlike other sleep studies, have decided to focus on the idea of using music to help common sleeping disturbances. The types of music that  Hui-Ling Lai PhD RN and Marion Good PhD FAAN, the researchers, used in their study varied in instrument, form, genre, and artist. However, the one thing that the songs had in common were that they had a calming and soothing rhythm. The design of the study was a randomized control trial. This was used to try and eliminate some bias within the study. About 60 people who had sleep discomfort or disturbances were contacted and were willing to participate. The music that the participants could choose from was originally 30 minutes long but researchers asked to extend the tapes to 45 minutes and were able to do so by repeating the first 15 minutes of each song at the end of the song. To determine if music causes relaxation and therefore helps people sleep, the measurements of the study were heart rate a visible respiratory rate that were taken for 30 seconds before and after (at the first home visit and at the last home visit). Participants were also required to keep a sleep log to determine how many hours they’ve slept vs how many they were awake. This included sleep disturbances such as getting up in the middle of the night.

At the end of the study, the results are shown in the graph under the title “Component Scores”. These results show that music had efficiently helped reduce sleep disturbances and that the participants woke up feeling more awake and well rested. So, due to experimentation, it is safe to say that sleeping while listening to music is beneficial for a person’s help. One recommendation that I have if you try this for yourself, don’t sleep with headphones in. It is very uncomfortable and will probably the reason the music isn’t working for you. I found that the music that the researchers used were not the same type of music that I listen to but it did have the characteristics of being calming and soothing, allowing me to fall asleep faster and have great nights sleep!


3 thoughts on “And You Thought Lullabies Were Just For Babies

  1. Avery Elizabeth Holland

    I also had difficulty falling asleep when I was younger however, instead of music, I would listen to different animal noises. On iTunes, you can buy a multitude of animal sounds; my favorite being dolphin noises and the crash of waves. I found this really helped me calm me down as I would relax faster and imagine I was floating in the middle of the ocean somewhere. My best friend made a really good “sleep” playlist on her SoundCloud account that I found was also really helpful in falling asleep. It has a variety of different feel- good and soothing songs. I think in general it’s easier to fall asleep when there is light noise such as a fan or music in the background because it helps us not think about our stresses and worries. For me personally, I know the things that keep me awake are when I’m anxious or worried about something.

  2. Marielle Concetta Ravally

    Your post brought up a childhood memory for me! When I was little, I always had a had time falling asleep. Now that I’m older I attribute that initial difficulty to acute anxiety as a child. My mom tried a multitude of different remedies but nothing really helped. The only thing that helped was sharing a room with my older sister, and even then I would often wake up in the middle of the night and go into my parent’s bed. As I grew older we knew that this issue needed to be solved. My mom decided to make a CD for me to help me fall asleep. The CD, filled with soothing music, actually did help a lot. Even today if I find it hard to sleep at night I will put on calming music and be asleep within a half hour. I often find my best sleeps are when I am playing music.

    Your article also made me think of a specific nap that I took one time (weird I know). I’m from the Jersey Shore and my area was affected very badly by Hurricane Sandy so my cousins lived with me for 2 weeks following the storm. One day we were incredibly bored and were scrolling through my Mom’s music collection and came across a CD of Chakra Bowls music (basically a series of tones designed to center your body). We didn’t believe it would work, however when we played the music we all fell asleep within ten minutes. When we woke up we agreed it was the best nap any of us had ever taken.

    When considering both these instances I can’t specifically prove that the music was the benefiting factor, however the only common thread through both of them was calming music.

  3. evk5294

    I also like to listen to calming music when I have a hard time falling asleep naturally. I took a course once on the science of sleeping and we got to learn a lot about the different brain waves (like theta, beta, delta, etc.) and the different roles they played in putting your brain and body to sleep. In one of our recitations we got to try and fall asleep the whole class to tonal music that matched up with these different types of brain waves that you experience during sleep. Here’s a link to one that I found:
    It also has cute pictures of animals in the video 🙂

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