If soundtracks make great moments even better, why not also dreams?
Thanks to the streaming services and their massive catalogue of songs it’s likely that right now you have a specific playlist to run, another to work and even one to go shopping, but have you also chosen your nap time music? Well, whether you have trouble sleeping or just need extra help to fall asleep at specific times, you should.
At least that's what science says. But you don't need any research to know that a soothing melody helps you relax. Lullabies, for instance, have been used for thousands of years to put babies to sleep – the first known dates back to the Roman Empire, and is a short, tender poem by Aulio Persio Flaco called aut dormi aut lacte (or sleeping, or nursing) –, and even music has been traditionally used to tame wild beasts.
But if you still need scientific evidence, there are several studies (which you can find here and here) that show music has the ability to decrease heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety, causing the release of substances with a positive effect in the brain such as serotonin. It creates the ideal conditions for the body to enter into a state of relaxation.
These studies have also identified which kind of music is best for relaxing and sleeping. It has to be music with 60-80 beats per minute, as it is the heart rate of a regular heart in a resting state. This makes our brain tune both frequencies and influences sleep. Songs string-instrument based with minimal brass and percussion are preferred. It has also been concluded that to start feeling the effects you have to listen to at least 45 minutes of music, and that doing so frequently the brain ends up associating that type of music to sleep, making the process faster.
Once we know the theory, all that's left is to find the songs and genres that fit those parameters and add them to our nap time music playlist. And contrary to what you might think, not everything is classical music!
These compositions are often mistakenly associated with music to relax. But classical music is such a broad genre that not all pieces help to close your eyes. The best options are those that do not have abrupt changes in intensity and rhythm, and that use piano as their main instrument. If you're still not familiar and everything sounds the same to you, start with classics like Bach's Prelude No.1 or Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (first movement).
As a reinterpretation of more traditional classical music, this genre contains both conventional compositions and avantgarde in which electronic sounds are incorporated, but most are slow and flowy, which is ideal for relaxing. You can try some songs written by Philip Glass, John Cage or Nils Frahm.
This is music created specifically to generate sound atmospheres, and through them alter moods. Although one of its inventors, Brian Eno, said of it that it was "as ignorable as interesting", many of his records are authentic masterpieces, and are especially good for sleeping, like Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics from 1980. If you want more, this is a good YouTube mix.
Nature has been accompanying human sleep for tens of thousands of years, so it can help you too. More than music, these tracks are composed of a mixture of sounds from animals – usually songbirds and crickets –, sea waves and storms. Water sounds are especially prolific, and all major streaming platforms have playlists dedicated to them.
This is not a genre but a song by itself. Written by a Manchester band called Marconi Union, it is considered by experts to be the perfect song for sleeping and the most relaxing in history. Composed of piano, guitar and modified field recordings, it lasts just 8 minutes and its beats per minute start at 60 and slow down to 50. As it has no melody, the brain pays no attention and enters more easily into sleep mode.
Have you already chosen your nap time music? Great, but it's not the only thing that can help you fall asleep. To create your own dream world and be comfortable in any situation, try combining your playlist with OSTRICHPILLOW Original, a cocoon-like pillow that creates an immersive and cozy experience wherever you go.
Photo by Namroud Gorguis on Unsplash
Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash