Medical Mysteries of Music

New shock study on “sleep music.” (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)

Having trouble falling asleep these days? Sure you are. Putin, inflation, the possible return of Trump, social media-induced anxiety, winter, pandemic PTSD–jeezus, there’s a lot that spiral through your mind when you’re trying to shut down your brain for a proper kip. Maybe what you need is some proper sleep music.

The results of a new study are in. Aarthus University in Denmark analyzed 225,626 songs from 985 Spotify playlists designed to help listeners drift off to sleep. The boffins wanted to know if there were any common characteristics to these songs. Turns out there are.

  • Sleep music tends to be quieter and slower than other music. (SHOCK!)
  • It often lacks lyrics (SHOCK!)
  • Acoustic instruments are dominate (SHOCK!)
  • Ambient music is an important sub-category of sleep music (SHOCK!)
  • There’s no one-size-fits-all type of sleep music (SHOCK!)

To be fair, three of the six sub-categories featured music that was louder and more high-energy. The thinking there is that popular songs can aid in relaxation and thus help some people nod off.

The overall conclusion? More research is needed to determine the best kind of sleep music.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38340 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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