Musical Dreams: Tunes for the Best Snooze

If you’re having trouble sleeping through the night, you’ve probably tried a lot of techniques to remedy the problem. We’re always looking for natural ways to sleep better at night, but sometimes the supposed “cure-all”  falls short. Let’s talk about a seemingly obvious remedy for insomnia: listening to music before bed.

According to BBC News, a group of 60 older people with sleeping problems were given music before bed. They were able to choose from a variety of music, all of which featured slow, soft tones such as jazz or orchestral pieces.

The music allowed the individuals to obtain a more restful sleep through physical changes in their bodies that included a lower heart and respiratory rate. The people researched found a 35% improvement in their sleep, with a longer duration of sleep at night and a more productive day. Perhaps the best part of this study is that unlike other sleeping aids, sleeping with music produced no side effects.

Music before bed can be especially useful if you’ve had a stressful day. It allows the mind to relax and for some of us, a racing mind can be the number one reason for insomnia. According to PsychCentral, the best music to listen to before bed is calming music, which means you should probably stay away from your heavy metal, pump-up playlist for this one. Try instead jazz music, classical musical or even soft rock or alternative music.

The University of Toronto found that classical music is the best choice for insomniacs. The 50-60 beats per minute in this type of music helps to create a meditative mood and slows the brainwaves down as they are trying to replicate the music patterns. This study went as far as finding out the specific songs in the classical music genre that are the best to listen to before bed. Some of the winners are: Handel’s “Water Music,” Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” Brahms “Lullaby,” Mozart’s “Baroque Music,” Debussy’s “Arabesque #1″ and Strauss’s “Waltzes.”

When you’ve created a sleep playlist, make sure the volume isn’t so high that a song will wake you up when you’ve already fallen asleep. If you’re using an iPod to listen to your music, don’t forget to use the sleep timer. This will shut the iPod off after a desired time (that you will choose) so that you won’t awaken at 3:00 a.m. to your music. If you’re sleeping with headphones, try to find comfortable ones that won’t hurt your ears at night. If you scour the internet, there are tons of options for bed headphones, which will help you make your decision. An iPod dock is also a great way to listen to music. It allows you to play your music out loud, and most of them have sleep timers as well.

The next time you have trouble sleeping, before popping a pill, pop in a CD instead. Sweet dreams!

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