Top Tunes To Help You Sleep

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OK, so it’s going to be easy here to joke about Coldplay and Cliff Richard – but there’s some real science behind using music to help you sleep better.

A lot of sleep specialists will insist on keeping technology or smartphones out of the bedroom to keep you from worrying about missed messages or being tweeted awake in the middle of the night, but app designers have already created a heap of clever ideas to help you prepare for a restful night.

And then there’s the playlists which promise to help you catch some zzzz’s when you need it the most – this surprising list from the Huffington Post includes Damien Rice, The Postal Service, Iron & Wine and The Smiths just to make sure even hipsters get a great night’s sleep.

But when it comes to common consensus, it seems that classical music is the best cure for insomnia – in this article designed to help students cramming for exams, researchers from the University of Toronto have shown that music by the composers Brahms, Handel, Mozart, Strauss and Bach helped people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer because “they use rhythms and tonal patterns that create a meditative mood and slow brainwaves”.

And if all else fails, why not bed down with this track Weightless by UK band Marconi Union, which – thanks to its continuous rhythm of 60 beats per minute – synchronises with the heart and brainwaves to instil a sense of restfulness.

Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy said:

While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. It is important that the song is eight minutes long because it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur. The fall in heart rate also leads to a fall in blood pressure. The harmonic intervals - or gaps between notes - have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort. And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next.

The final word, though, ought to go to the Sleep Foundation, which reveals that most of us really think that silence is golden: 74% of Americans say a quiet bedroom is key to a good night’s sleep.