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Music as a Sleep Aid

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 14 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Insomniacs Insomniacs.co.uk

Many of us find it difficult to sleep for a variety of different reasons.

In order to help us sleep we have - over the centuries - found many different and ingenious ways of helping our minds relax to such an extent that sleep happens of its own accord.

The mind is an extremely powerful thing and as such can prevent us from sleeping for a long time and for a whole host of different reasons but eventually there will come a time when your body will be so desperate to sleep it will override what the mind is telling it; as a way to assist the body in its quest to bring sleep to the insomnia sufferer, many people use music as an aid.

What Kind of Music Aids Sleep?

This really is a difficult question to answer because for the most part it depends entirely on the sort of music that the insomnia sufferer enjoys listening to. Obviously there are some limitations and as such you will find very few individuals listening to Def Metal, Heavy Metal or Grunge but there are many other forms of music which have evolved over the years.

Soft Rock

Soft Rock is so-called because it is derived from rock n' roll but has a softer edge to it; you will normally find soft rock littered with guitars, drums and keyboards but for the most part it will take on a more gentle sound that its predecessor. Many soft rock listeners favour the ballads and find the rhythmic drumming and guitar melodies soothing.


Classical music has been the staple of music lovers for hundreds of years and there are many different classical artists to choose from. Mainly the emphasis is on string arrangements, sweeping orchestral movements or gentle wind instruments. Classical music has always been synonymous with relaxation.

Easy Listening

Easy listening is one of the categories of music that contains a whole host of songs and instrumentals that would fit in other categories as well. Easy listening has its emphasis on acoustic arrangements, mournful vocals or songs of wistful summer days, or ballads reflecting on loves now past.


Ambient music is primarily the use of sweeping chords infused with dreamy melodies and light percussive beats which invoke the mind to conjure up images of the sea, places we have visited as children or places that bring about happy memories. Some ambient tracks can last upwards of ten minutes at a time and an album of ambient music should be one of the albums any insomniac should have in his or her CD collection.

Nature Sounds

Many people interested in meditation will have albums of whale song, waves crashing in against the rocks, gentle bird song or the sounds of nature as found in wooded glades. These natural, earthy sounds as designed to promote a feeling of being at one with your surroundings and also to allow the mind to relax and drift away from the problems or stress of the sufferer.

Preparing to Sleep

Make yourself - or the person suffering from insomnia - a hot milky drink and maybe even prepare a water bottle. A CD player - or more commonly now - an MP3 player should be placed near to the bed. Indeed as the technology is now becoming smaller and more advanced you could place one underneath your pillow.

Ensure that you have a long lead to your microphones to prevent getting tangled up in and make yourself - or the insomniac - comfortable.

It is important not to be too hot or too cold as this will prevent your body and mind relaxing sufficiently to synchronise with each other.

Make sure the lights are switched off and curtains or blinds are drawn. Once you are ready select the music you wish to listen to and close your eyes.

Again it is worth mentioning that the best way to listen to music in these circumstances is to have the music just loud enough to hear; any louder than that and the effect will be lost.

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