Sometimes it seems like anxiety rears its ugly head the most right around bedtime. Like, you’re just chilling under the covers, preparing for some glorious shut-eye, and your brain is like, "LOL nah, fam — allow me to present you with an in-depth analysis of everything you’ve done wrong since birth." Seriously, though, racing thoughts that interrupt your sleep are the worst, but thankfully, the results of a new study have revealed what may be the best music for sleep, so if you haven’t already tried creating a bedtime playlist to soothe yourself to sleep, now may be the perfect time to start.
The study, which was recently presented the 2018 European Society of Cardiology Congress, revealed that listening to yoga music before bed can do wonders for anxiety and your general well-being, making it easier to fall and stay asleep throughout the night. Yes, you read that right — the same tunes that accompany you during your vinyasa flows and savasanas can also lull you to sleep. Perhaps that’s not that surprising — after all, you’ve definitely dozed off during corpse pose at the end of a yoga class on more than one occasion — but hey, it’s always good to have the evidence to back it up.
According to a press release on the study, researchers recruited 149 healthy adults (the average age of the participants was 26 years old) and instructed them to listen to different genres of music on three separate nights to see the effect that the beats would have on their heart rate, anxiety levels, and ability to fall asleep.
On the first night, the participants listened to meditative yoga music before bed; the second night, they listened to "pop music with steady beats" to put them to sleep; and on the third night, they didn’t listen to any music at all before bed. Each night, the researchers measured the participants’ heart rates five minutes before the music (or silence) started, 10 minutes after the music started, and five minutes after participants were done listening. Additionally, participants reported their anxiety levels via survey both before and after each music session.
Ultimately, the study found that yoga music was most effective in reducing people’s anxiety levels before bed, while pop music and total silence appeared to spike anxiety. In other words, Cardi B is my girl, but she’s not exactly singing bedtime lullabies, you know? Jamming out to the Top 100 Hits playlist beneath the sheets might seem real lit in the moment, but it’s probably not going to do you any good on the anxiety front, not to mention your ability to doze off. And yeah, lying there in complete silence while your brain does mental acrobatics for an hour about that one embarrassing thing you did at work earlier in the day probably isn’t the best way to fall asleep, either.
If you want to fall asleep quickly and feel luxuriously relaxed come bedtime, popping in your earbuds and switching on some soothing yoga music seems to be your best bet. As a yoga teacher myself, I’m definitely not that surprised by the findings in this study, particularly because of all of the positive feedback I’ve received from students, many of whom have told me they felt that the songs on my carefully curated playlists made them feel incredibly at ease during class. During savasana, for example, I often make sure that I choose an instrumental song, so that students can rest without distractions and drift into a dreamy, trance-like state of bliss.
Some of my favorite artists for awesome, calming yoga music that might be ideal for you to experiment with before bed are East Forest, Dr. Toast, and Random Rab. And while you’re listening to some of these songs, maybe you can even try putting your legs up onto the wall while you’re in bed, as the position is known to be one of the best yoga poses for sleep.
Whatever you do, just make sure you’re not bumping Post Malone at bedtime. I know it’s tempting, but sometimes we must make sacrifices in the name of sweet dreams and quality slumber.
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