Sleep Tips

Is “Sleep” a New Genre of Music?

Of the more than 4,000 U.S. adults surveyed in a recent Consumer Reports study, roughly 27%said they had trouble falling or staying asleep most nights, while 68%— an estimated 164 million Americans — struggled at least once a week. To combat this issue, Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies in 2015, a number expected to reach more than $50 billion by 2020, according to Natana Raj, a research analyst.

The sleep struggle is definitely real, but what if a potential remedy was already resting in the palm of your hand? What if you could finally ditch those sleeping supplements – which typically leave you drowsy long after that first cup of coffee – for once and for all?

For the more than 50 million Americans who spend their days running low on quality shut-eye, a recent study found that music – yes, music – can actually improve your ability to fall asleep and, better yet, stay asleep.

Sleep to the Music

Of course, the idea of “sleep music” is nothing new; parents have been singing their children to sleep since ancient times and some of our most popular lullabies were first recorded in the 1500s. But today’s adult-aged struggling sleepers have put a more sophisticated spin on the old lullaby concept. Today, millions of Americans have turned to things like Spotify’s sleep channel and  Reddit’s thread for “Somnolent Music” for sleep support.

Early last year, Spotify confirmed its users had created more than 2.8m sleep-themed playlists, with Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud claiming the top spot as the most popular track among those collections. Other songs include:

  • Imagine – John Lennon
  • Slow Dancing in a Burning Room – John Mayer
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  • Skinny Love – Bon Iver
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley

Building the Perfect Wake-Up Playlist – With Science!

Music isn’t just for going to sleep, however. Many of us rely on loud buzzers and beeps to get us out of bed in the morning, but the research suggests that music is actually conducive to both parts of a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

Last fall, music psychologist and Cambridge PhD candidate David M. Greenberg worked with Spotify’s data team to identify and study the what qualities people look for in a morning playlist. They found that the three main elements of the perfect “wake up” song are:

  • music that builds,
  • positivity
  • and a strong beat.

More specifically, songs with positive lyrics that emphasize beats two and four of each measure – with 100 to 130 beats per minute – will wake you up feeling more prepared, empowered and comfortable to start the day.

According to Spotify’s research, songs like Coldplay’s Viva La Vida and Avicii’s Wake Me Up fit the above criteria. Other songs include:

  • Downtown – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Come and Get It – John Newman
  • Money on My Mind – Sam Smith
  • On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons
  • Wake Up – Arcade Fire

As you can see, whether you’re struggling to doze off or dreading that morning buzzer, music has the potential to reinvent the way you start and end your day. Mattress Firm is used to finding products to help you sleep, and wants you to use music if it helps you to sleep better!

Need more sleep music suggestions? Check out Mattress Firm's sleep playlist on YouTube!

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