How to curate a music playlist to improve your sleep

How to curate a music playlist to improve your sleep

Written by: Jenna Lo


From working out to needing a pick-me-up, music is a powerful way to inspire people and facilitate emotions, thoughts and feelings. Music can be used in almost any scenario to elevate the experience, but it has also been found to help improve sleep hygiene. Studies have found that music helps improve a person’s ability to fall asleep quickly, feel more rested and have consistent, uninterrupted sleep. 

Although parents use lullabies and gentle rhythms to help babies and elementary school children to fall asleep effectively, children aren’t the only ones who benefit from listening to music to fall asleep. A study found that adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before going to sleep reported having better sleep quality even on the very first night. The more they incorporated music into their nightly routine, the better sleep they experienced.

Another study found that music can decrease the overall amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Before incorporating music into their sleep schedule, women with symptoms of insomnia took 27-69 minutes to fall asleep. After adding music into their routine, however, it only took them 6-13 minutes to fall asleep.

So how does music help someone fall asleep? On a scientific level, music is associated with multiple areas of human cognition and function. Here are some of the ways music improves sleep:


  • Decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol
  • Triggers the release of dopamine
  • Reduces both acute and chronic physical pain
  • Soothes the autonomic nervous system leading to slower breathing, lower heart rate and reduced blood pressure
  • Distracts from troubling or anxious thoughts
  • Helps drown out environmental noises

There is no clear consensus about the optimal music for sleep. Instead it is more influenced by a person’s own musical preferences. If you are wanting to get a better night’s sleep and want to try adding music into your sleep routine, here are some factors to consider when curating your perfect sleep playlist to get a good night’s sleep.

Tips for curating your personalised sleep playlist

At healf, we recognize how important Sleep is to overall wellbeing. Your body needs adequate rest and relaxation to balance out our everyday hectic schedules. By incorporating music into your sleep routine, it may help you find the balance you need within your bedtime routine. Here are some tips we’ve found to help you curate your perfect, personalised sleep playlist.

Consider the tempo

Tempo is measured in the amount of beats per minute (BPM). Studies have looked into selecting music that is around 60-80 BPM because a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60-100 BPM. Lots of experts believe that listening to music that aligns with your heart rate will help the body sync up with slower music and help you fall asleep faster.

Experiment with different types of songs

Contrary to popular belief, your playlist does not need to solely consist of slow, relaxing songs. Newer studies have found that a lot of people benefit from listening to upbeat music. In one study, researchers looked to see what types of music people were listening to on Spotify to fall asleep. They analysed a total of 225,626 songs from 985 playlists and found more pop and rap songs on sleep playlists than classical and instrumental music. 

Overall, you should make a mix of songs that you find enjoyable and experiment to see which songs make you feel most relaxed. It may be helpful to try out a few playlists during the daytime to see if they help you relax.

Avoid songs that cause strong emotional reactions

When picking songs to add to your playlist, try to include music that is neutral or positive. Songs that may cause a strong emotional response or keep your mind awake may end up keeping you up instead. Novelty keeps the brain awake, so try to stick to music you are familiar with that doesn’t have any “surprises.” The best type of music should be songs that make you feel happy, relaxed, positive and neutral.


When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, listening to a playlist that includes music that helps you relax and feel positive may help improve your sleep overall. When you are looking for songs to add to your playlist, feel free to experiment and keep looking to see what fits right with you!

After you make your perfect playlist, here are some products we recommend to include into your sleep routine to help ensure you get the perfect sleep: