NEWS Mental Health News Be It Happy or Sad Songs, Music Before Bed Could Mean Better Sleep By Lo Styx Lo Styx Lo is a freelance journalist focused on mental health, sexual wellness and patient advocacy. She is based in Brooklyn and can be found on the internet @laurenstyx. Learn about our editorial process Updated on September 11, 2022 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Karen Cilli Fact checked by Karen Cilli Karen Cilli is a fact-checker for Verywell Mind. She has an extensive background in research, with 33 years of experience as a reference librarian and educator. Learn about our editorial process Share Tweet Email Print Westend61 / Getty Images Key Takeaways Research surrounding the habit of music played before bed has been mixed.A new study suggests listening to happy or sad music before bed can improve sleep quality.Relaxing music has been linked to decreased heart rate and blood pressure, whereas fast, loud music can have the opposite effect, according to experts. We all have our bedtime routines. Depending on the person, these can include a skincare regimen, finishing a chapter in a book, making a cup of tea, or watching a favorite TV show. Most of these habits help us wind down at the end of the day and, hopefully, induce a good night's sleep. But one bedtime habit has proven controversial: listening to music. Past research exploring music played before bed has been divided. Some studies have shown relaxing classical music reduces sleep issues, while others have shown that people who frequently listen to music before going to bed suffer worse sleep quality. The answer to this debate may lie in the type of music that's played. A new study focusing on young adults in Singapore suggests that specifically happy or sad music played before bed can actually benefit a person's quality of sleep. Varied Frequencies at Bedtime Researchers asked 62 participants, who ranged from 19-32 years old, to focus on three types of music before bed: happy music, sad music, or pink noise, which consists of sounds at a frequency that filters out distractions. Each participant spent five consecutive nights listening to the assigned audio before bed—two nights were spent without music between each condition. Participants then self-reported on their quality of sleep. Study authors Music listening is relatively cheap and easy-to-implement, healthcare professionals and lay individuals alike can use music listening as a cost-effective and convenient intervention. — Study authors The results revealed that participants experienced better sleep quality after listening to happy or sad music over listening to pink noise. But no significant difference in sleep quality was reported between listening to happy or sad music. The benefits also continued, as participants also reported reduced stress and greater life satisfaction the following day. "Music listening is relatively cheap and easy-to-implement, healthcare professionals and lay individuals alike can use music listening as a cost-effective and convenient intervention for improving subjective sleep quality and other daily well-being outcomes," study authors wrote. It's important to note that the study wasn't without limitations. Because results were self-reported there's great risk of subjectivity and variability. At the same time, researchers did not gauge participants' familiarity with the music, which could affect its impact. Why Can't I Sleep? Music and the Mind Psychiatrist Alex Dimitriu, MD, who specializes in sleep medicine, notes that music is a fairly powerful emotional tool. This means it can also be an effective distraction for racing thoughts while trying to fall asleep. Studies have shown that playing music at bedtime can encourage the physical and mental tranquility necessary to achieve a good night's sleep. Alex Dimitriu, MD Music can bring out feelings, including relaxation, and also reduce mind wandering often seen in anxious or stressed individuals — Alex Dimitriu, MD "Music can bring out feelings, including relaxation, and also reduce mind wandering often seen in anxious or stressed individuals," he says. Music can have a real physical impact, as well. Research exploring music's effect on the body has shown that relaxing music can actually reduce heart rate and blood pressure. At the same time, Dimitriu notes that, because fast, loud, or intense music could potentially have the opposite effect and increase heart rate, it should be avoided before bedtime. "Check in with yourself and make sure you like how the music makes you feel," Dimitriu says. "Again, this effect should be subtle. Sleep is a natural process that occurs best in a cool, dark, and quiet room." Best Sleep Apps What This Means For You Playing music that makes you feel happy and calm before bed can benefit your quality of sleep. Curating a playlist dedicated solely to sleep music can be an effective method of minimizing any issues you may have while falling asleep. Listening to Music Before Bed May Disrupt Sleep 5 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Tan YZ, Ozdemir S, Temiz A, Celik F. The effect of relaxing music on heart rate and heart rate variability during ECG GATED-myocardial perfusion scintigraphy. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015;21(2):137-140. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.12.003 Harmat L, Takács J, Bódizs R. Music improves sleep quality in students. J Adv Nurs. 2008;62(3):327-335. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04602.x Scullin MK, Gao C, Fillmore P. Bedtime music, involuntary musical imagery, and sleep. Psychol Sci. 2021;32(7):985-997. doi:10.1177/0956797621989724 Majeed NM, Lua VYQ, Chong JS, Lew Z, Hartanto A. Does bedtime music listening improve subjective sleep quality and next-morning well-being in young adults? A randomized cross-over trial. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain. 2021;31(3-4):149-158. doi:10.1037/pmu0000283 Dickson GT, Schubert E. Music on prescription to aid sleep quality: a literature review. Front Psychol. 2020;11:1695. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01695 See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.