If you have ever looked for songs to help you sleep, you know most internet blog posts all have the same lists of commercial songs.
I find that they never really hit that sleepy spot.
As an avid audiophile and extremely bad sleeper, I set to compile a list of 10 songs that I believe will actually make you (and me) drift off.
It has been scientifically proven that music helps people sleep, but to create a perfect sleeping playlist it is useful to understand the mechanisms of how this works.
The catch is in the tempo
Every song has a tempo, which is measured in beats per minute (bpm), that usually stays pretty even through the song.
We commonly choose higher beats per minute for uplifting and energetic music and lower beats per minute for slower, melancholic, or romantic music.
As a human is falling asleep and their body is going to rest, their heartbeat slows down to about 60 bpm and your blood pressure drops.
The idea is that if you listen to tunes that have 60 bpm as well, you can trick your brain and heart into getting to this resting state faster.
If you are looking for something to motivate you then check out my list of 10 Motivational Songs
Obviously, other things go into creating a snooze tune, like how drum-heavy it is and what the general mood of the song is or even how pleasing the singer’s voice is to you, personally.
That is why there will never be a perfect sleeping playlist, but once you find your sweet bpm and genre spot, it is easy to find more songs similar to those you like.
Why is this important?
All of this is important because studies have proven that lack of sleep can have profound consequences on out health and wellbeing.
Poor sleepers are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
They are also more likely to have mood swings, low concentration and poor information retention.
Good sleep hygiene has been a hot topic of discussion lately as more and more people struggle to doze off and get their recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a day.
In this loud, fast and blue screen filled world, the right kind of music can be the one thing that helps you relax and wind down.
So without keeping you awake any longer, here is my list of ten songs that I think will help you sleep.
Tycho – A Walk
This calm and serene tune will help you take a walk through sleepy town.
Tycho is a five year project by American ambient musician Scott Hansen.
You could describe it as a hypnagogic, pop Balearic, electronic genre, with blips and fairy like drum sounds that you can meditate to, while imagining yourself in a space shuttle sleeping pod.
Mister Lies- False Astronomy
Keeping in line with the space theme, here is a slighly eery and ghostly song with a minimal beat led by a female vocal.
The vocals are washed out enough so that you do not get engaged in the lyrics but still add to the relaxing sound of the song.
It sounds like a toned down, easy going Massive attack song, but in a sci-fi novel.
London based Afrobeat collective Kokoroko serves it’s audience with modern and melodic jazz music.
If you are in the search of a more complex and rich sound that the previous two songs, this might be the one for you.
To me ”Abusey junction” is a perfect song for winding down while returning home after a long work day.
Leonard Cohen- My secret life
For lovers of more soft rock, evergreen tunes ”My secret life” is a song written and performed by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson.
Leonard Cohen is famous for his deep raspy voice and macabre lyrics full of sorrow, hopelessness but also passion.
This is my personal go to when I need to hit the pillow on a rainy or gloomy day.
Norah Jones- Come away with me
”Come Away with Me” is an acoustic pop song that features Norah Jones with other jazz musicians.
Her remarkable voice is perfect for this intimate and slow burning song.
The soft guitar notes and romantic singing may be just what you need to lull yourself to sleep.
A glass of wine is the perfect pairing for this sultry track.
Lola Marsh- Shes a rainbow
If you enjoy unusual vocals and gentle acoustic guitar melodies, this might be right up your alley.
Lola Marsh is an indie pop band from Tel Aviv, Israel. Gil Landau and Yael Shoshana Cohen, the couple that started the band, created a song with enchanting back vocals and serene atmosphere.
Gloria Laing – Why Can’t I Have You
Love has most definitely been the culprit of many sleepless nights.
If you are lying in bed awake and with a broken heart, a sad romantic song is what you need.
It’s nostalgic melodies coupled with melancholic lyrics are a perfect for drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed.
Jakob Ogawa – You Might Be Sleeping [w. Clairo]
Not very popular yet, but still worth a listen, Jakob Okawas ”You might be sleeping” is a song from his debut EP ”Bedroom tapes”.
As the name of the EP suggests, this sweet, serene song is perfect to listen to as you roll over for the last time and drift off into slumber.
The Spy From Cairo – Nafas
The spy from Cairo is an Italian born artist of gispy descent, so it’s not suprising this dopey, instrumental Hip-Hop song incorporates Eastern European melodies with a pinch of reggae.
Air – La Femme D’Argent
Air are a music duo from France, consisting of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel.
A mix of elevator and ”on hold music,” I think this song just might be the magic pill we are all looking for.
Music has always had a big part in human’s lives.
We use it to celebrate, pass time and connect with each other.
It is useful to realize music can also be a powerful tool to improve our physical and mental health.
There is no easy solution to insomnia and sleeping is definitely a very complex mechanism with a lot of variables.
I would be a liar if I said a couple of songs can solve all of your problems.
But, maybe, if we take a step back, immerse ourselves in some kind of relaxing melody, we might just catch a breath, or hopefully some shut eye.
Also check out this List of the 10 Saddest Songs I Compiled