What Happens if You Sleep While Listening to Music? – Is it Bad?

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What Happens if You Sleep While Listening to Music?

I would often fall asleep with my headphones on, and I would always wake up feeling groggy and disoriented.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that there might be a connection between my sleeping habits and my headphone usage.

After doing some research, I found out that there are actually several studies which suggest that sleeping while listening to music can have negative effects on your sleep.

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you what I learned about sleeping with music.

Listening to music while sleeping: good or bad?

Listening to music while sleeping can have both positive and negative outcomes, depending on the individual and the type of music being played.

  • On the positive side, music can promote sleep hygiene by creating a reliable routine before bed and training the brain to associate music with sleep. Studies have shown that listening to calming music can aid in resolving insomnia and promote better sleep quality and quantity.
  • On the negative side, listening to music that is too intense or emotionally stimulating can increase emotions, heart rate and keep one awake. Additionally, wearing headphones or listening to music at a loud volume can cause discomfort and potentially damage hearing.

In conclusion, when done properly, listening to calming music at a moderate volume can have positive effects on sleep quality and quantity. However, it is important to consider personal preferences and limitations when deciding whether to incorporate music into one’s sleep routine.

What is the best way to listen to music while sleeping?

It is possible to enjoy a good night’s sleep while wearing headphones and listening to music. However, it is essential to follow some best practices to ensure that it does not harm your hearing and sleep quality.

  • use headphones designed for sleeping. These headphones are comfortable to wear and do not fall off while you sleep.
  • control the volume. The sound should be low enough to hear but not too loud that it damages your hearing.
  • choose the right genre of music that helps you relax and fall asleep quickly.
  • use a sleep timer to ensure that the music stops playing after a certain period. This prevents the music from disrupting your sleep and allows your body to relax fully.

By following these best practices, you can enjoy the benefits of listening to music while sleeping without compromising your well-being.

What happens to your brain when you listen to music while you sleep?

According to a study from Northwestern University, hearing a piece of music while sleeping can improve one’s ability to play it accurately the next time. During a 90-minute nap, one of two learned melodies was played repeatedly during slow-wave sleep, which is thought to be important for memory consolidation. Do not forget that naps do not count as sleep. Participants woke up with improved accuracy for both tunes, but especially for the tune that had been played during their sleep.

The study suggests that slow-wave sleep is a crucial part of the memory processing during sleep. Music affects our brain in a variety of ways, including improving our mood, boosting problem-solving ability, improving memory, and promoting relaxation.

Choosing songs that relax us can help us fall asleep faster and get better rest. Slow, calming music that matches our resting heart rate is most effective for promoting healthy sleep.

What are the benefits of listening to music while sleeping?

1. It can help you relax and fall asleep faster

Listening to music while sleeping can help induce relaxation and improve the quality of sleep. Slow and soothing music with a tempo of around 60 beats per minute can help slow down heart rate and breathing, leading to a more relaxed state. This can also distract from daily stressors and become part of a nightly routine, signaling to the body that it’s time to rest. The human brain responds to music on a physiological level, with calming music inducing relaxation and serving as a distraction from stressful thoughts.

Additionally, music can mask out distracting noises and set a sleeping pattern. Overall, bedtime beats can be a helpful tool for those having difficulty falling asleep due to stress or psychological reasons.

2. It can improve the quality of your sleep

Listening to music while sleeping can improve the quality of sleep in various ways. According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, music can promote sleep quality and quantity, particularly if the songs chosen are soothing and stress-free.

Additionally, listening to music before bedtime can become part of a nightly routine, signaling the body that it’s time to sleep. A consistent routine can help individuals fall asleep easily and remain in a restful state longer. It is worth noting that the quality of sleep is not solely determined by the number of hours slept, but also by how well the brain waves slow down during the Rapid Eye Movement stage of the sleep cycle.

Overall, listening to music while sleeping can be a helpful tool for enhancing relaxation and promoting better quality sleep.

3. It can reduce stress and anxiety

Listening to music while sleeping can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that music can help soothe patients in pediatric emergency rooms and reduce their stress levels. Additionally, listening to music positively affects the autonomic nervous system (read more about the Polyvagal ladder), which regulates bodily functions and helps us recover from stressful events more easily. It can also improve the sleep quality of depression patients with insomnia and reduce the symptoms of PTSD. Listening to music triggers the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which can take away stress from our minds and make us happier. In fact, the hormonal response to music can be so strong that it can alter the chemistry in our bodies.

Overall, music can distract us from the troubles of the day, refocus our brains, and help us feel calm and relaxed so we can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

4. It can help with nightmares and insomnia

Listening to music while sleeping can help with CPTSD nightmares and insomnia in several ways. First, calming music can slow down heart rate and breathing, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, which can be helpful for those experiencing vivid dreams or nightmares.

Additionally, music can distract from negative thoughts and promote a sense of comfort and safety, which can also alleviate nightmares. For those experiencing insomnia, listening to music can become part of a nightly routine, signaling to the body that it’s time to sleep and promoting faster onset of sleep.

While there are various natural remedies and supplements available for insomnia and anxiety like hanging a dreamcatcher, incorporating music into a bedtime routine is a simple and effective option to consider. You also can try to improve insomnia with Kaizen.

5. It can connect you to your unconscious mind

Listening to white noise or music while sleeping can activate both the left and right sides of the brain, leading to enhanced problem-solving skills and creativity. This connection to the unconscious mind can also bring up long-forgotten memories and emotional responses, as well as inspire life-changing decisions.

Music has been used to create concentration and learning playlists, anxiety-soothing playlists, and music pieces for effective sleep aid, all of which can help connect us to our unconscious minds and reap the benefits.

What are the dangers of sleeping with music playing?

1. Risk of Eardrum Damage

Sleeping with music playing through earbuds can lead to potential damage to the eardrum. The delicate structures of the ear are sensitive to loud sounds and prolonged exposure can lead to hearing loss and complications. Headphones produce sound at a much higher frequency than the average sound, which can cause hearing damage even if used for short periods at high volume. Over time, pressure from earbuds can reduce blood circulation and cause tissue damage in the ears.

2. Disturbed Sleep

While listening to music before bed may seem calming, it can actually disrupt sleep and have negative consequences on your health. Sleep experts suggest avoiding or limiting music before bed, especially if it is not low-beat, slow, calming, and lyric-free. When we fall asleep, our brains and bodies need to go through healthy sleep stages, and the sound of music can interrupt this process.

Optimal situation would be to not listen to anything at all – just allow your mind to relax naturally. Regularly sleeping with music playing can lead to inadequate sleep, harmful physiological changes, and chronic health conditions.

Studies have also shown that using electronic devices before bed, such as reading on an ipad, or using an apple watch or using a phone, can negatively affect sleep quality. It is important to prioritize good sleep hygiene for overall health and wellbeing.

3. Increased Stress Levels

Sleeping with music playing is actually proven to reduce stress levels and help with sleep. Listening to enjoyable music triggers the release of feel-good hormones such as serotonin, which takes the stress away from our minds.

However, it’s important to note that certain types of music can worsen stress levels for some people. It’s best to stick to music that personally brings a positive emotional response and avoid music that triggers negative emotions.

4. Poor Sleep Hygiene

Poor sleep hygiene refers to behaviors and habits that interfere with the quality and quantity of our sleep. Sleeping with music playing can be a part of poor sleep hygiene as it can disrupt the healthy sleep stages our brain and body need to go through. Inadequate sleep can lead to harmful physiological changes and chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, and depression. Difficulties falling asleep can arise due to different factors related to lifestyle and general health state, including chronic stress, sensory overload, circadian rhythm imbalance, and certain mental health conditions.

5. Experiencing an earworm

Experiencing an earworm after sleeping with music is not uncommon. When you fall asleep with music playing, especially if it’s a repetitive or catchy tune, it can sometimes continue to linger in your mind upon waking up. The music you listened to before falling asleep can become ingrained in your memory, leading to the persistence of the melody or lyrics as an earworm.

Several factors may contribute to this phenomenon:

  1. Repetition: If you listened to the music repeatedly before sleep, it increases the chances of the melody or lyrics getting stuck in your mind as an earworm.
  2. Emotional connection: Music has a powerful effect on our emotions. If the music you listened to before sleeping had a strong emotional impact, it can enhance the likelihood of it becoming an earworm.
  3. Sleep consolidation: During sleep, our brains consolidate memories and process information. The music you listened to before sleep can become a part of your memory formation process, making it more likely to replay as an earworm upon waking.

If you find that you frequently experience earworms after sleeping with music, you may consider adjusting your bedtime routine. You can try listening to more calming and less catchy music before sleep or choose instrumental tracks without lyrics, which may be less likely to stick in your mind.

Is It Safe to Sleep with a Waist Trainer While Listening to Music?

Is it safe to sleep with a waist trainer while listening to music? While many people enjoy the comfort and support that waist trainers provide during the day, experts generally advise against sleeping with a waist trainer. This is because wearing one during sleep can restrict breathing and hinder proper body alignment. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and opt for more comfortable sleepwear to ensure a good night’s rest.


Is it bad to sleep while listening to music?

While listening to calm music while sleeping can lead to improved sleep quality and relaxation, there are potential drawbacks to consider. The use of headphones while sleeping is not recommended, even playing music out loud can be problematic if the volume is too loud or the music is too stimulating, which can lead to interrupted sleep.

Additionally, there is a risk of becoming dependent on music to fall asleep, which can be problematic when sleeping in unfamiliar environments or with a partner who prefers quiet.

What kind of headphones should I use to sleep with music?

Headband headphones, low-profile earphones, and true wireless headphones are all suitable for sleeping with music. Headband headphones like SleepPhones and CozyPhones are popular choices, while low-profile earphones like Bedphones and QuietOn Sleep Earphones are designed for maximum comfort.

what happens if you sleep with earphones in

True wireless headphones are also an option, but their battery life may be limited. When choosing headphones for sleeping, consider features that improve sleep quality and value for money.

What type of music is best for sleeping?

If you’re looking to incorporate music into your bedtime routine, it’s important to choose the right type of music to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Here are some tips for selecting the best music for sleeping:

  1. Stick to relaxing sleep music with slow and sustained musical notes or white noise.
  2. Choose lower frequencies measured at about 500 Hz and under.
  3. Prefer stronger bass and moody, non-danceable rhythms.
  4. Keep the volume under 40 decibels.
  5. Consider classical music, which is often calming, but beware of emotional reactions that may disrupt sleep.
  6. Ideally, the best songs for sleeping are those that mimic the heart or breathing rate, with 60 to 80 beats per minute (BPM).
  7. “Weightless” by Marconi Union, which starts at 60 bpm and ends at 50 bpm, has been dubbed the most relaxing song ever.
Music Genre/StyleDescription
Ambient MusicSoft, atmospheric, and repetitive melodies with gentle soundscape textures. Creates a calm and tranquil environment.
Classical MusicClassical compositions with slower tempos and soothing melodies. Examples include Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” or Bach’s “Air on the G String.”
Instrumental MusicMusic without lyrics, often featuring solo piano, acoustic guitar, or orchestral compositions. Creates a peaceful ambiance.
Nature SoundsRecordings of natural sounds like rain, ocean waves, or forest sounds. Can be combined with soft music for enhanced relaxation.
Meditation/Relaxation MusicSpecifically designed tracks incorporating calming melodies, gentle rhythms, and ambient textures for inducing relaxation and sleep.
music genres commonly recommended for sleep

By choosing the right type of music, you can create a peaceful bedtime routine that helps you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night.

How loud should I keep the music while sleeping?

To ensure safe listening while sleeping, keep the volume level of your music at very low. If someone standing within arm’s reach can hear your music or you can’t hear them speak without removing your headphones, your volume is too high. Listening to sounds at 85 decibels for up to eight hours is safe, but for every 3 decibels added above that, cut your listening time in half. Avoid in-ear headphones that can trap moisture and cause bacterial infections. Wireless over-the-ear headphones are recommended for comfort and safety.

Volume LevelDescription
Very LowThe music is barely audible, similar to the sound of a whisper or rustling leaves. You need to concentrate to hear it clearly.
LowThe music is audible but at a low volume, comparable to the sound of a quiet conversation or a gentle breeze.
ModerateThe music is at a comfortable volume, filling the room with sound without being overpowering. Similar to background music in a café.
Personal ComfortThe volume level that suits your individual preference for sleep. It should be soft enough to promote relaxation and not disturb your sleep.
examples of volume levels for sleep music

These examples provide a general idea, but it’s important to adjust the volume to your own comfort and ensure it doesn’t hinder your ability to fall asleep or cause discomfort.

Does sleeping with music have an effect on my sleep quality?

Music has been proven to have a positive impact on sleep quality and quantity, provided that you choose songs that make you feel relaxed and stress-free. In this answer, we will discuss two main points that explain how sleeping with music affects sleep quality.

When you listen to music while sleeping, it can become a routine if the effects are positive. The melody from your favorite songs can be soothing and relaxing, and the habit of putting your headphones on before sleeping could signal the body that it’s time to sleep. It is much easier to sleep when you put your headphones on because you have trained your body to sleep once they are on.

It’s crucial to pick sleep sounds carefully for the best outcomes. The music should be something low-beat, slow, calming, and lyric-free. While music can help you block external noises or negative thoughts, it shouldn’t be too distractive. Listening to some popular tunes or your favorite songs isn’t likely to have a calming effect.

Experts recommend music with a rhythm of approximately 60 beats per minute, which can help people fall asleep when listened to for about 45 minutes.

What are the safety considerations for using earbuds to sleep with music?

It is not recommended to use earbuds while sleeping, as it can be dangerous and cause harm. Wired headphones can pose a risk of strangulation, especially if you’re sleeping with a pet or child. Additionally, leaning on headphones can restrict blood flow, potentially leading to necrosis or damage to the ear canal. Bluetooth technology can be a safer option, emitting less radiation than a standard cellphone.

white apple airpods on yellow surface

Is it good to sleep with music on all night

It is not that good. While music can help resolve insomnia and block external noise, it may also cause dependency and disrupt sleep quality if too intense.

The choice of music is important and it is recommended to select calming music that promotes sleep hygiene. Ultimately, the decision to sleep with music on is a personal one and should be based on individual preferences and needs.


By lezt

Lez Taylor, Founder and CEO of Corala Blanket. She tried every sleep system and trick to conquer her insomnia for good.