Yes, music will help you get to sleep. This is a given for just about everyone who has tried it. Even the sleep-study researchers and medical people have found that music can help relax us and give us a better night’s rest. But the question is: What musical style or genre works best for those who need some help?
To answer this question in general terms, the type of music should be in the same vein as the kind of sounds used for sleep assistance. People listen to calming sounds such as ocean waves, soft rain, wind in evergreen trees and so on. Some have even found comfort listening to those fascinating recordings of whales calling in the deep.
The Right Stuff
With this in mind, it stands to reason that you probably should not listen to heavy-metal tunes or raucous, free-form jazz if the goal is to relax the body and mind. Some studies show that classical music is a great option, while people have also found relief with some of the smooth, crooner songs that move at a slower pace.
Studies and individual reports also show that new age music and the softer electronic recordings are other genres that can be of use for those who need help getting to sleep. It is interesting to note that one study has narrowed the tempo down to about one beat per second as being ideal for nighttime music. In addition, it may best to listen to songs without lyrics, as the words and stories being told may engage the mind rather than calm it.
To move slightly off track for a bit – It is interesting that songs without words should be mentioned. If the words are not set to music, but are in poetry being read by a deep, calming voice, they can have a similar effect.
There are at least three factors that may help us answer this question. Music helps us relax if it has a slow tempo. That is a given, according to research. The tones also have to be on the lower end of the scale. High-pitched tones are not recommended. In addition, there has to be a repetitious character to the music. Changes in rhythm, especially if they are abrupt changes, will often have the opposite effect.
Some people who have tried this method of relaxation have also wondered if the actual content of the music is important. If you eliminate words, the next factor that may help is the use of music that brings back positive memories. If we associate the songs with a happy, positive time in the past, it can accomplish its purpose.
You may find that choosing the right type of music is just not enough to help you. Some professionals who watch this area of study closely suggest combining quality music with aromatherapy. It seems the combination of hearing the right sounds and enjoying certain aromas tend to put us in a very relaxed state.