How to Find and Play Relaxation Music for Sleep

Some readers enjoy sleeping in complete silence, but others know the relaxing power of calm music and soundscapes. Sounds like crickets, the rain, and other nature noises are good for blocking out unpleasant intrusive sounds. But how do we find the best relaxation music for sleep? And what methods are best for playing this music in the bedroom? Let’s take a look so that your next sleep will be deep and fulfilling!

Start By Identifying What You Like

There are many kinds of music that people enjoy for sleep. The first question you need to ask yourself is, “do I find words distracting or soothing?” Most people won’t fall asleep if the music has lyrics. The reason for this is that the mind latches onto the words and pays too much attention for sleep to come easily. If this isn’t a problem with you, feel free to fall asleep to any music you enjoy. 

If, however, you can’t abide lyrics, consider some of your other options. You may be able to sleep better listening to music in a style you enjoy, except those songs should be sung in a foreign language. Still, you might find that pop songwriting, in general, is too engaging to promote sleep, so we may next want to dig into the realm of instrumental and atmospheric music. 

Classical recordings are widely available for free and can be a good alternative to more modern songs. The complete recorded works of Bach alone stretch some 9 gigabytes in this writer’s hard drive. If the complex melodies and harmony of classical music is still too dramatic for sleep time, consider genres like ambient, electronic/techno, drone, and soundscape instead. 

Ambient music is meant to please the ear, without drawing the attention, kind of like musical wallpaper. Artists like Brian Eno and William Basinski typify this genre, and have countless hours of music between them. Electronic genres like techno (Ricardo Villalobos), chill house, and dub (King Tubby) feature long recordings and peaceful textures, with repetitive rhythmic elements that some find hypnotic. The drone genre, featuring great artists like Alvin Lucier and Éliane Radigue, features the sounds of synthesizers, strings, horns, etc. But rather than playing melodies, the instruments create sustained drones that some people like and others hate.

Finally, there’s the soundscape genre. Not strictly musical (because these compositions have no set duration or repeating harmonic ideas), soundscapes evoke a peaceful place in your imagination, and can be great for sleep. You can also find hours-long recordings of box fans, white noise, seashores, and anything else of that ilk.

Where to Find and How to Play This Music

If you identify a few artists you enjoy, try creating a sleep playlist on Spotify Premium (Premium is essential, because you won’t get disruptive ads). Youtube Red or the premium version of any streaming platform of your choice also works. If you enjoy the soundscapes genre, consider a site like MyNoise.net, where for a small subscription fee you can get unlimited access to a truly massive library of sound design recordings. 

How you play these recordings is entirely up to you. It’s not recommended to use headphones while sleeping, as sustained volume close to the eardrums can damage hearing (not to mention, wearing headphones while sleeping is uncomfortable). You may enjoy playing the music softly through your laptop speakers, or through any stereo you have. If you have a wireless audio system like Sonos, so much the better. 

Relaxation music for sleep doesn’t work for everyone, but some people find that it gives them a deeper and longer rest. If you are a light sleeper who is woken frequently by extraneous noises, or simply enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that music can bring to bedtime, try these methods and get some rest!