Spotify Playlist of the Week

Michael Quick

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“Sleepy Songs”

Last week, I discussed the soothing effects of the rain, and, with finals looming ominously on the horizon, I figured it was a good idea to compile a list of light, downtempo pieces to help de-stress from hours of studying and drift off into dreamland.

Disclaimer: I don’t personally listen to music to fall asleep. I think it has something to do with being an auditory learner, or just a musician, but I wind up paying too much attention to the music and having an even more difficult time falling asleep than I would in silence. However, listening to music is something that does help a significant number of people to sleep; a study in the 2005 “Journal of Advanced Nursing” found that participants experienced a thirty-five percent improvement in their sleep quality after listening to just forty-five minutes of music around the time they were going to sleep.

Finding music to use to fall asleep is not difficult. As long as the piece is relatively quiet and has a tempo of roughly sixty beats per minute or lower it can hold a spot on your bedtime playlist. I feel as though the tempo is what really has the heaviest contribution towards “sleepiness.” There is a very odd phenomenon that occurs when we listen to music where our brains try to match up our bodily functions (most notably heartbeat) to the time of the music. This is most easily experienced while running or working out, you will find that you unintentionally synchronize your pace with whatever song you are listening to at the time. This is why people often include lots of dance music in their workout playlists.

My “Sleepy Songs” playlist features a lot of small ensemble jazz tunes, but classical, post-rock, acoustic, and even some electronic music can also work as long as it doesn’t have a lot of dramatic percussion that may wind up jolting you awake. I hope that you find more success with music in your bedtime routines than I have, and that it can relax you — to some degree — in this, the most stressful time of the semester.