Nearly time for bed but having trouble winding down? From dimming lights to having a warm bath, there are many ways that you can help ensure that you sleep better. Now, a new Australian study has found that using sleep songs might also be key to a great night of rest and recovery.
Thomas Dickson, a music psychology researcher at the University of New South Wales, tested a range of tunes on students. Turns out that songs with a medium tempo not only helped people who struggled with sleep drift off faster but also improved the quality of their sleep.
So, in the name of science (and a love of good music), we have created a sleep songs playlist packed with twenty chilled-out tunes to help you wind down before bed. Arranged by beats per minute (bpm), these sweet sounds become increasingly subdued and should hopefully help you drift off for a dreamy night of rest. Enjoy.
Pssst. You can play, pause, and skip tracks directly from your Polar watch, like the all-new Polar Ignite 3, with Music Controls.
Sleep Songs Playlist
“Riverside” by Agnes Obel (198 BPM)
Danish sing-songwriter Agnes Obel wrote this haunting piano track to sound like the movement of a river. That’s why it lulls you so easily into a relaxed flow, almost as if you are being carried away by the water.
“Wedding Song (Acoustic)” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (172 BPM)
You can only find this acoustic version on the deluxe edition of this art rock trio’s 2013 album, Mosquito. The gentle strumming, matched with Karen O’s melodic voice, makes this one of the most relaxing love songs you can imagine.
“Green Arrow” by Yo La Tengo (174 BPM)
This instrumental track by the New Jersey indie trio has the cinematic quality of a long, hazy drive through a desert. It will put you in a mindset where little matters to you beyond the road stretched out ahead.
Swoon yourself to sleep with this iconic 90s anthem of unrequited love.
“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star (157 BPM)
Swoon yourself to sleep with this iconic 90s anthem of unrequited love. Hope Sandoval’s dreamy vocals and lyrics will probably infuse your dreams with a sense of sensual longing and mystery.
“Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan (156 BPM)
Bob Dylan croons along to his classic song of seduction in a surprisingly deep voice, instructing you to go to bed. How can you argue with that? This song has been covered many times, but the original is undoubtedly still the best.
“Space Song” by Beach House (147 BPM)
Dream pop duo, Beach House, write entire albums of relaxing music. However, this track is particularly tranquil, to the point that someone mixed this song with footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is an equally soothing treat for the eyes.
“Slow Like Honey” by Fiona Apple (142 BPM)
This slow, sultry jazz-infused track from Fiona Apple’s first album truly does move at the pace of honey. Its sweetness is matched with a haunting undertone that dares you to drift off to sleep.
“Farewell and Goodnight” by Smashing Pumpkins (140 BPM)
No one knew they needed frontman Billy Corgan from this ferocious alt-rock band to sing them to sleep. That was until the Smashing Pumpkins included this unexpectedly gentle closing track on their third album, making it the ultimate 90s lullaby.
“All Alright” by Sigur Ros (132 BPM)
The serene plucking of piano chords that open this calming song by Sigur Ros truly signals sleepy vibes. Fun fact: this six-minute psalm was the first English-language track the prolific Icelandic band ever released.
“Lullaby for my Insomniac” by James Blake (130 BPM)
Ok, so the title doesn’t inspire confidence in anyone struggling to sleep. Yet this is actually a love song for a partner who struggles to sleep, reminding them that no matter what, they will at some point find the rest they need.
They go psychedelic to tell about a very peculiar dream featuring The Beatles, strangers from another planet, and a dad who was green. Dreams are weird, right?
“Dream 1987” by 22-Pistepirkko (114 BPM)
22-Pistepirkko is a legendary rock band from Northern Finland with a four-decade-long career. In fact, the band formed just a few miles away from Polar’s headquarters. In Dream 1987, they go psychedelic to tell about a very peculiar dream featuring The Beatles, strangers from another planet, and a dad who was green. Dreams are weird, right?
“Harvest Moon” by Jane Birkin (108 BPM)
There have been many covers of Neil Young’s classic ode to enduring love, but this version may be the most relaxing one yet. Chanteuse Jane Birkin sing-speaks the tender lyrics like she’s trying to entice you into a dream state.
“Coney Island” by Taylor Swift featuring The National (108 BPM)
Taylor Swift teams up with indie heroes The National for a perfect sweater-weather song. The gentle instrumentation and moody atmosphere invite you to go for a relaxing walk as the sun goes down and gets colder and colder.
“Midnight Lullaby” by Tom Waits (102 BPM)
In this song, Tom Waits, the timeless romantic, the inebriated troubadour, invites sleepless souls to burn the midnight oil with him and stare out at the moon upon the windowsill. But before you know it, his sweet piano chords and the nocturnal trumpet will be guiding you into dreamland. So dream, come on, and dream.
“Love’s in Need of Love Today” by Stevie Wonder (98 BPM)
Many tranquil tracks can have a slightly depressing edge to them – but not Stevie Wonder. He’s here with a seven-minute reminder that the world is what we make it, so make sure you tell your loved ones how you feel.
“Blackbird” by The Beatles (94 BPM)
This pared-back Beatles classic – featuring a tapping foot, acoustic guitar, chirping birds, and Paul Macartney’s gentle vocals – is all about the “dark black night.” It’s short but endearingly sweet.
“Angels” by The XX (92 BPM)
It’s hard to miss that this tender track from British band The XX’s second album is all about love. In fact, the word is mentioned over twenty times, with singer Romy Madley Croft crooning you to sleep with her amorous repetition.
“Nightime” by Big Star (90 BPM)
It may not be the most cheerful song, but the late great Alex Chilton achieved pop perfection with this beautiful tune that marvelously captures the loneliness and despair we all feel late at night sometimes. Exquisite, uncanny beauty.
Their slow tempos and minimalist arrangements make many of the band’s tunes ideal to calm down and get ready to sleep while being hypnotized by their icy beauty.
“Nightingale” by Low (69 BPM)
If there ever was a band capable of creating music to wind down to, that was Low. Their slow tempos and minimalist arrangements make many of the band’s tunes ideal to calm down and get ready to sleep while being hypnotized by their icy beauty.
“Brahms Lullaby” by Eric Fleur (64 BPM)
When it comes to sleep songs, there’s nothing more tranquil and slumber-inducing than the world’s most famous lullaby. That’s why this new recording by Eric Fleur has clocked an incredible 4.2 million plays since its release last year.
Sweet dreams, everyone.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.