Music therapy: Music to sleep and relax

Last update on Feb, 03, 2022

Can music help you fall asleep?

Music therapy is a real cure for stress and sleep disorders. The sound acts on the hypothalamic-hypophysial axis and on the autonomic nervous system and is able to modulate some of the metabolic responses of our body: the notes trigger the production of endorphins, improve mood and promote relaxation.

How does music therapy work?

Music therapy is a treatment that uses music as an educational, rehabilitative and therapeutic tool. The musical experience has a beneficial impact on cognitive functions, motor skills and emotional development. It is applied in pregnancy and educational settings, as well as in oncological, palliative, and geriatric medicine. It is successfully associated with psychiatry: it reduces the symptoms of schizophrenia, controls states of anxiety, and can be an aid for children with autism.

Music to sleep

Music can be a valuable sleeping aid as well. It can reduce sympathetic nervous system activity and blood pressure, decrease anxiety, and lower heart and respiratory rates. Some research shows that the ideal rhythms for relaxation and deep sleep are those of 60 or 80 beats per minute, the same frequency of our heartbeats, to which we are accustomed since the womb.

Musical frequencies to sleep well

Although each individual has their own habits and can benefit from different experiences, it has been noted that there are recurring themes with respect to the type of music that promotes sleep. The most relaxing frequencies are characterized by a low and constant rhythm, with little to no sudden changes in intensity.


For those who suffer from insomnia, there are auditory stimuli that can function as a sleep aids which promote relaxation. One of the most popular is ASMR, also known as the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ASMR is the sensation triggered by the brain's reaction to audio-visual stimuli, from the sound of piece paper being crumpled, to the tapping of fingernails on a hard surface, or even a subtle whisper. This sensation is often a pleasant and relaxing experience.

Relaxing music

Whether it's classical, modern or ambient, the most relaxing music for sleep is instrumental. Singing, on the contrary, has too stimulating an effect on the brain, as do the songs that you already know. According to a study, when people listen to their favorite music, it activates the same areas of the brain that store memories and private thoughts, triggering emotions that hindering relaxation.

Different types of relaxing music

When we want to ease our minds, there are genres of music that are suitable for this purpose. Classical music has an important calming effect: it reduces blood pressure and the secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone. Ambient music also promotes relaxation and concentration; the same goes for ethereal Celtic music, originally used to communicate with supernatural entities. In addition to music, white noise and natural sounds are perfect for guiding us into a deep sleep.

Benefits of relaxing music

There are many benefits associated with the sound of relaxing music on the body. This type of music is able to reduce anxiety and stress, improve our ability to concentrate and stimulate the production of endorphins and serotonin, as well as strengthen our immune system. It improves the quality of sleep, our brain function and our cognitive processes. Not to mention, it rebalances our respiratory function and oxygenation.

What happens to our bodies when we listen to music?

When we listen to music, chemicals and hormones are released into our brains to improve our mood, reduce our anxiety, transmit joy and promote concentration. Moreover, music can induce positive emotional experiences while boosting our immune system, improving our memory and relieving pain.

Music effect on ears

Sound is a physical phenomenon, produced by a vibration that propagates in the air. When we listen to a song, at first our brain activates our sense of hearing, a peripheral phenomenon linked to the ear and the auditory nerve. Then, the sound passes through the thalamus, and reaches the temporal lobe: at this point our nervous system is engages its psychic functions and the musical sound is "intellectualized".

Brain - released hormones

Music, whether listened to or played, helps release substances vital to our mental health,  including dopamine, serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and oxytocin, a hormone that influences some social behaviors and stimulates our predisposition to empathy.

Relaxing music for children

In humans, hearing is the sense that develops first. At three months gestation, the fetus is already able to hear, and two months after birth, it can pick up a rhythm. For children, soothing music is more than an external stimulus to reduce stress levels. Music promotes physical, psychological and cognitive development and is responsible for the child's language development and neural connections.

Relaxing music for animals

There are few living beings capable of remaining indifferent to sounds and music: not only people, but also animals and plants react to sound stimuli. In the animal world, dogs and cats are particularly sensitive: as happens for humans, even if the musical notes are a stimulus for the system. They activate specific areas that release chemical neuromediators capable of putting our four-legged friends in a state of psychophysical well-being.

Other questions? Come and visit us in an Amplifon center

Book an appointment and come and visit us at one of our Amplifon centers, our hearing care professionals will be ready to answer any of your curiosities about the world of hearing and to show you our range of Amplifon hearing aids.

Book an appointment

News & Blog

Catch up on the latest news and stories on hearing health.
Learn more

Get support and advice

Book a free hearing test

Book now

Test your hearing online

Take the test

Find your nearest store

Find a store