Allowing me to sleep like a baby!
How would you like to have a great night’s sleep, every night? Sound good? It does to me and is something I have been able to achieve for the last 35 plus years. During my time in the US Navy, I used relaxing music for sleep and for power naps during lunch time. I was lucky because getting enough sleep while the ship is underway on a deployment is almost impossible. Besides, have you seen berthing aboard a US Navy warship?
Now, when I was lucky enough to be at home, I used a different technique. Being in bed with my wonderful Wife, well; that technique is better left for other sites to talk about but sex is one of the top recommended tips for sleep. And, just to do a little bragging between us friends, I slept fantastic!
So hit play for me. Nothing like a little background music…
Let’s take a look at sleep, what it is and some background information and then delve into the wonderful world of relaxing music for sleep.
What is Sleep?
Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body, a decreased ability to react to stimuli. The body alternates between two distinct modes: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. Dreams are typically recounted in a story-line form, which resembles awake life but usually can later be distinguished as fantasy.
Sleep allows the body’s systems to be in an anabolic state,. This helps to restore the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems; processes that maintain mood, memory, and cognitive function, and in the function of the endocrine and immune systems.
The most pronounced physiological changes in sleep occur in the brain. The brain uses less energy during sleep than it does when awake. In the areas with reduced activity, the brain restores its supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule used for short-term storage and transport of energy. And we have bursts of growth hormone.
REM and NREM
Sleep is divided into two types: non-rapid eye movement ( NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These are so different that they are identified as distinct behavioral states.
NREM sleep occurs first, after a transitional period called slow-wave sleep or deep sleep. Body temperature and heart rate falls, and the brain uses less energy.
REM sleep represents a smaller portion of total sleep time. It is the time of dreams (or nightmares), and is associated with fast brain waves, eye movements, and loss of muscle tone.
The sleep cycle takes an average of 90 minutes, occurring 4–6 times in a good night’s sleep for alternate NREM and REM sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine divides NREM into three stages: N1, N2, and N3 (delta sleep). Normal progression is: N1 → N2 → N3 → N2 → REM. REM sleep occurs as a person returns to stage 2 or 1 from a deep sleep. There is more delta sleep (stage N3) earlier in the night, while REM sleep increases in the two cycles just before natural awakening.
Past vs Present
Many, many years ago in the days of vinyl records, 8-tracks, cassettes, and record shops; my choices were a bit of a stretch but proved effective. Pink Floyd, Spyra Gyra, Bob James were the foundation I began building on. Friends introduced me to Native American flute and other types of music that were hard to get but considered gold in my search for sleep music.
Today we have the Internet which should have made it easier to collect and have a selection of relaxing music. We have a big selection of sites for free music and each site allows free membership. Each have a huge selection and it is easy to spend a lot of time and energy searching for the perfect playlist for that elusive night’s sleep.
And yes, I do have some suggestions for you. And, of course, my advice! But first I need some background information. Do you want to have music playing for the complete sleep cycle? A short selection of just a few related songs to get the relaxation to fall asleep? How about a mix of different genres? And binaural beats, how do you feel about them?
Extended playlists for relaxing music for sleep are very available and user friendly. Simply choose the number of hours before that alarm goes off and hit play on a playlist. I also suggest adding an hour or two, you can start the music a bit before sleep time and develop a routine for bedtime and allow it to play after you awake. Bask in the relaxation and start your day off right.
A short related selection? My favorite and sometimes the most difficult to choose. There are so many different types of music that sometimes deciding between space music, smooth jazz, instrumental, Native American flute… well, don’t get too caught up in the choices. So I will just give you some suggestions and samples, you can choose for yourself. Trust me, you can’t go wrong with any of these genres. Remember, start before bedtime and get a routine going.
Sometimes a playlist of different types of relaxing music is a great change of pace for me. There is a bit of a disconnect between songs but that can be a good thing also. Play around with different types of music, find what works for you! I like instrumental music, space or ambient music followed up with the flute. My beginning tracks are usually smooth jazz.
And let’s not forget binaural beats! The four types of binaural beats are Theta, Alpha, Beta and Delta. Each frequency set helps with different brain waves and activities. Binaural beats are designed to have 2 different frequencies (1 for each ear) and your brain combines these into a single frequency. Now, I like binaural beats when combined with soft music but I find it difficult to sleep with earbuds or headphones.
Monaural beats are when you play binaural beats over speakers and the frequencies merge before you hear them. To me, we save a step for our brain to do and I think the beats themselves have just as much effectiveness. Besides, my Boston Terrier, Fats, loves to listen to music as much as I do! Some great starter selections are available at my binaural beats page.
So go easy on the high octane action or horror movies before bed time. Allow your body the time to adjust from the day and to rest a bit before you head to bed. Make your routine into something you enjoy and that tells your brain and body that sleep is soon to be here.
Using relaxing music for sleep is like when a baby has the favorite lull-a-byes to fall asleep with. Having a set routine helps prepare the little one for bed or nap time and sometimes I think we forget that it can help us as adults. And remember, it takes time to get the routine and to have that relaxing music for sleep to kick in. Give it a week trial and experience the difference a great nights’ sleep can make.
Now, it is your turn. Care to let me know your routine and/or the music you have for sleep? I always enjoy your comments, thoughts or questions!
Walking the Path of Peace,