Ever been feeling stressed and anxious, then put on your favorite soothing tune and instantly feel yourself relaxing? Music has a powerful effect on the brain and can shift our moods and emotional states in a short amount of time. And we can use that power of music to help us at bedtime, by finding the ideal song to help us wind down, feel calm and get ready for sleep.
So what should we listen to before hitting the sack? Here’s the science-backed checklist to help you figure it out:
- Consider your personal preferences - Everyone has their own personal experience of sound and music, in part because of the memories that music can stir up. Greg McAllister, a Senior Sound Experience Manager at Sonos, who helps create their sleep stations, says the same songs won’t appeal to everyone, all the time and we should think about what we enjoy when creating our personal bedtime soundtracks.
- Look for smooth, even tones - Daniel Bowling, a neuroscientist who researches acoustics at Stanford, suggests looking for music that sounds like the emotional experience you’re trying to have. So for relaxing before bed, he suggests soft, steady, straightforward and smooth music.
- Lose the lyrics - Both Bowling and McAllister point out that lyrics may be too distracting for most people’s bedtime playlist. Research shows that catchy choruses get stuck in our heads, so you’re better off listening to something instrumental before sleep.
- Let your music meet you where you are - The Iso Principle in music therapy explains that if you want to experience a certain mood, it’s helpful to first play music that matches your current mood. So if you’re anxious after a long day, playing songs that mimic that feeling, like music with tight, short notes with dramatic rises and falls, then slowly moving into calmer and more soothing tracks can help you unwind.
Source: Mind Body Green