To follow up on this month’s posts about music and sleep, I created a sleep-inducing playlist of classical music over the course of the last week. Last night I put the finishing touches on the playlist, and I thought I’d try it out to see if I found it relaxing. Since I fell asleep during both attempts to listen to the playlist from beginning to end, I’d say it works for me.
While designing the playlist, I kept in mind some of the considerations shared in the earlier blog posts about music and sleep-related research and the work done by Debbie Benkovitz at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. In particular, I chose selections with tempi in the range of 60-65 BPM, which corresponds to the resting heart rate for a normal adult.[i] I also included several pieces just outside this range in case you are interested in trying something slightly faster or slower.
You’ll also notice that many of the selections feature a violin, cello, or piano. As a violinist and pianist, I find the warm sounds of string instruments and the gentle sound of the piano especially calming, so songs featuring these instruments work perfectly for me. In addition, I picked pieces that remained fairly steady in timbre, dynamics, and tempo to keep the playlist consistently tranquil.
Choosing music for sleep is a very personal thing. I enjoy listening to classical music, others like another genre, such as New Age music without a beat, some prefer white noise over music, and still others find it easiest to sleep in silence. Ultimately, you need to discover and listen to what you find most calming.
If you’re interested in trying to fall asleep to classical music, listen to Classical Music for Sleep and see what you think. Please don’t forget to share your feedback or any additional song suggestions in the comments section below!
[i] Benkovitz, Debbie. Personal interview. 9 Jan. 2014.