February 25, 2017
IF YOU FREQUENTLY WISH that your brain had an “off” switch, you are not alone. About 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia, and difficulty settling down is only the first step of each nightly nightmare. Could music banish your sleep troubles with a simple playlist on your phone? Here’s how to get started.
The truth is that a lot of people have a hard time turning off their conscious thought as they prepare for sleep. Once they close their eyes, they can often hear the familiar refrain start turning itself over and over in their heads. If it’s not coming from their smartphone speakers, it’s likely originating from their brains. And for them, the choice between listening to comforting music and agonizing over that awkward work conversation is a no-brainer. Studies show that a few tunes while you snooze can help you get to sleep faster, sleep better and wake up better rested.
Simple lullabies are always something that a parent can sing to a child, even when painfully tired and exasperated. But really, any peaceful, repetitive melody helps soothe just about anyone to sleep. Select tunes that have a rhythm of about 60-80 beats per minute. If you like to kick back to something classical, you know there are plenty of songs by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart guaranteed to get your eyes drooping. You can also sleep to jazz or easy listening music. Just be sure to go easy on the brass. However, a lot of people want something a little more current (and there’s nothing wrong with that). The folks at Spotify claim that the #1 musician for shuteye is none other than British singer Ed Sheeran. For dozens of sleep playlists in different genres, check out Google Play Music.
If you like to wear ear buds when listening to music, it makes sense to wear them to bed. They are much less likely to force your neck into a weird position, compared to headphones you wear over your ears. However, experts’ opinions are mixed, partially because they know that a lot of users are not following their suggestions in the first place.
Some experts say that wearing ear buds is uniformly bad for your health, because it traps moisture inside your ears. The other problem is the volume, which is more concentrated with ear buds. If you can keep the volume down to 60 percent of the maximum, and use the ear buds for less than 60 minutes at a time, experts say you can get the benefit of the music without risking permanent damage to your hearing.
Just like any other bedtime routine, you have to give music an opportunity to build up a habit before you notice a lot of benefit from it. If you can, set up an external speaker system that will play the music. Set the volume just loud enough to serve as white noise, but not so loud that you wouldn’t be able to hear your alarm going off or someone knocking on the door. Create a playlist that will last at least 45 minutes, so that you have sufficient time to fully relax. After a couple of weeks, you should observe that you have an easier time getting to sleep and staying there.
A good night’s sleep may be a simple MP3 away, if you have a good selection of music to help you get there. When you use music appropriately, you can relax and wake up ready to face the world.