I was one of those people who'd automatically fall into a sleep coma until the next morning as soon as they rested their heads on the pillow. Yes, I’m one of those annoying travel buddies that, as soon as the car is out of the driveway, I'm already snoring. But I had, or better said, I have a quirk: I can’t sleep when there’s absolute silence. That’s right, back at my parents’ house, all the TVs stay on the whole night because we’ve gotten used to rocking ourselves to sleep with the lull of the television. My sister always sleeps watching animal documentaries, while my dad prefers historical shows, as for my mom, she has an odd habit of watching crime shows before falling asleep.
In my case, I always tune in some cartoons or a children’s movie. But it all changed when I moved out and didn’t have a TV for myself. I tried playing something on my computer, but then I was afraid I might break it by leaving it on all the time, so I tried to treat my problem with books. The issue was that either I got hooked on the plot or, when I was finally falling asleep and closing the book to put it away, my brain just woke up, and it became a never-ending story. Then I discovered music, and although my playlist wasn’t really the best to relax (although it wasn’t death metal either), it helped me bring the noise I was used to.
Now, that’s my case but I know a lot of people who are the opposite in the way that the slightest noise can guarantee a sleepless night. If you suffer from that hellish situation of constant insomnia, calming music can really help you defeat that monster and provide the deepest and best nights possible. Unlike what many would think about classical music, this is actually not the best choice to substitute your childhood lullaby. The tempo they use can be faster than those in pop or jazz music. In that way, while some bits of the song might help you fall asleep, some abrupt beat changes can alter your brain when it’s relaxing.
According to the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, the ideal beats per minute, or tempo, to get your brain relaxed is an average between 60 and 80. Now, unless you’re a musician knowing the exact tempo of a particular song, this is kind of difficult to determine. Although there are apps and websites specialized in calculating this, there are other things to consider to determine if a song can work as a sleep-inducing tune. So, for instance, a song like “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth that barely surpasses the 80 limit with 82 bpm won’t be the best choice for your playlist.
Besides attempting to find something that makes you sleep, the quality of the notes and the song also determine the quality of sleep we aim for. So, even though my playlist is effective in making me sleep, it most likely isn’t helping me have quality sleep cycles, and this can result in not resting properly and actually waking up even more tired than I was when I went to sleep (which is basically the truth). Here, you must select tunes with the right tempo but at the same time with calm and soothing rhythms.
Finally, before passing to the list we’re suggesting, it’s important to bear in mind that there are songs that, despite meeting the ideal requirements, if they have a special meaning for you, they might not work properly. As Max Hirshkowitz, PhD, (vice chairman of the board for the National Sleep Foundation) states, when a song "produces an exciting memory, all bets are off." So, no songs that remind you of someone or that stimulate your brain in any way. Having said that, based on the most popular songs in Spotify and considering what we have just mentioned, here are 10 songs that might help you say goodbye to those sleepless nights: