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Sleep Music

Sleep Music

Having trouble sleeping? Kokoon can help you get a better night's sleep.

For a long time people have used music to help them feel better when they are unhappy, stressed, or even ill. And for those who have sleep problems, music can be a soothing experience, helping them forget their day, unwind and sleep comfortably.

Choosing the right type of music for sleep

Here's the thing about music and sleep: the wrong sounds can keep you awake all night (like your neighbour's dog or your partner snoring), whereas some lure you into dreamland.

Music is ultimately is down to personal preference. But finding the right type of sleep music shouldn't be a chore.

As a general guide, it's important to avoid your favourite songs that are too uplifting. These can make you too "active" just before bed. The best types of music are the ones that blend into your environment. For example, if you have ever slept better on a rainy day, it's no surprise! Sounds of 'falling rain', have been scientifically proven to improve the quality of your sleep, because they mask the sudden noises that wake you up at night. 

But you can't just wait for a rainy day for a better night's sleep. Here's a selection of sleep music to kick off your journey to better sleep and relaxation:

1) Classical Music

Music played around a tempo of 60-80 beats per minute, commonly seen as classical, jazz or even folk songs have been found ideal for sleep. 

This type of music has been associated with lowering your blood pressure, your heart rate and even your anxiety – everything that is needed to calm a racing mind before bed. The National Sleep Foundation has also found adults who listen to 45 minutes of classical music before bed, fall asleep faster and sleep longer.

That being said, it's also easy to fall upon upbeat classical music, such as concertos. But these are best avoided. This slow piano melody is a great example of classical music for sleep:

2) Sounds of Water

Ocean waves, babbling brooks and the pitter-patter of rain - many people swear by these watery sounds to help them fall asleep and stay in dreamland. 

Part of the reason why people find the sounds of water relaxing lies in our brain and how we interpret sounds – either as “threats” or “non-threats”. Dr Orfeau Buxton, an associate professor of Biobehavioual Health at the Pennsylvania State University, says our brain interprets the whooshing sound of water as non-threatening, which puts us in a state of calm: “It’s like the ocean waves are saying: don’t worry, don’t worry”.

Here are some relaxing beach waves from the Maldives:

3) Sounds of Nature

We often don’t hear crickets croaking or the gentle blowing of forest trees, especially if you live in the city. But some of you may be lucky enough to hear birds tweeting in the morning. Listening to these sounds of nature can promote better relaxation and well being.

Nature sounds are associated with inducing “external-focused attention” rather than “inward-focused attention”. This is where you are focused on your surroundings rather than worrying about things specific to yourself. This in turn helps take your mind off things and put you into a state of relaxation.

Listen to some relaxing Nightingale bird songs here:

4) Sounds of Fire

A crackling fire can help some people feel warm, cozy but also reassured. Sounds of fire are great examples of impulse noises. This is when a sound occurs instantaneously. For example, the click or pop of pieces of wood burning in a fire.

Now in most cases an instant noise can be unwanted or even disturbing to sleep (imagine gunfire or explosions!). But when the amplitude of instantaneous noises are decreased and the sound made continuous, it has the effect of masking sounds in the background. The sounds of crackling fire are commonly used as a treatment in hyperacusis or when masking tinnitus.

Enjoy the warmth of this crackling fire:

5) White & Pink Noise

Now some of you may think, does white noise even count as music? It's well worth a mention because white noise is one of the most effective sounds for a better night's sleep.

White noise is the static noise a television makes when it’s being tuned and is commonly used to mask background noises. It's a consistent sound containing all the different frequencies of sound within the range of human hearing. Think of white noise similar to "white light", that combines all the light of the rainbow. It might be a bit strange to add more noise to a noisy environment, but white noise masks sporadic sounds in a way that makes them blend into the background – so your brain doesn’t notice them.

Some people hear white noise and it makes them cringe. But there is actually an entire rainbow of sounds. Pink noise is a great alternative to help you sleep and relax. It has the volume of higher sound frequencies reduced which produces something that some find more balanced and easier to listen to than white noise. A study in the Journal of Sound and Vibration showed people who listened to pink noise spent more time in the deeper phase of sleep compared to white noise. Pink noise has also been shown to improve the quality of your sleep and boost memory recall.

Fall asleep to white noise here:

6) ASMR

Imagine a soft, gentle voice telling you nice things about the world in a pleasant tone that’s low, slow and relaxed.

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, which is the name given to a tingling sensation brought on by watching or even listening to someone do a soothing repetitive motion, such as brushing hair, folding towels or whispering pleasant thoughts.

For some people this tingling sensation is both relaxing and sleep inducing – but it doesn’t work for everyone.

Instead of ASMR, if "spoken word" audio is what you are looking for then you could always listen to your favourite podcast or audio book. It might not give you tingles but it may help quieten a racing mind and let you to forget the day's events. Try not to listen to any exciting plot lines and instead choose books and podcasts that don't need that much attention on your part. Here's a great example of a podcast for sleep.

Listen to this tingling review of Kokoon headphones, spoken in ASMR, and decide if it's for you:

7) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Not being able to sleep, knowing you need to fall sleep, and then feeling increasingly anxious when you can’t, is a familiar pattern for many. For some people, the vicious circle is so ingrained that the very act of going to bed makes them feel anxious – a losing battle right from the start.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based exercises such as mindful breathing and body scans can help to refocus the mind and break the negative thought cycles that prevent a person from falling asleep. CBT is currently one of the most effective treatments for sleep disorders and has been proven to be successful in clinical trials for helping individuals fall asleep and relax better.

At Kokoon we have created an 8 part audio program (called the “Good Sleep Foundations”) based on CBT techniques. These sessions take you through a series of breathing and meditation exercises to set you up to sleep, switch off your mind and help you focus.

We recently shared a snippet of our body scan exercise on our Instagram page: 

So, what does this mean for you?

Well, it’s no surprise that music, sounds or even spoken word audio can be a very effective tool in helping you achieve better sleep and relaxation.

But choosing the right music for sleep takes experimentation. This article has music that you can explore to find out what works for you.

If you still find it difficult, Kokoon can help. Through intelligent data and personalised insights you can discover the best sleep music for you

Learn more about Kokoon Headphones and the Kokoon Relax Mobile App here.

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