Music - the Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep this Christmas

Relaxing Christmas music. I know what you’re thinking. There’s no such thing.

As you wander through the shops grabbing last minute gifts, tunes about sleigh bells and dashing through the snow don’t quite fit with an Aussie Christmas.

Yet countless studies have shown that some kinds of music can help us relax, reduce our stress levels and help us sleep better.

Listening to music can help you relax

You probably don’t need researchers to tell you this is true, but the soothing effect of music has been scientifically proven.

Listening to music affects the psycho-biological stress system. When you’re under stress, your adrenal glands release a stress hormone called cortisol. A little cortisol is good for you. It helps you respond quickly in situations of danger – it moves you into ‘fight or flight’ when it’s needed.

But high levels of cortisol for too long can result in high blood pressure, weight gain, mood changes, lower energy levels and disrupted sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep helps reduce cortisol in your body

Sleep is one of the magic ingredients in reducing cortisol levels. And getting enough of the right kind of sleep is key to keeping healthy.

In a number of experiments, researchers have seen that positive changes in cortisol occur when people listen to music.

What music can you play to de-stress and help you sleep better?

Soothing, meditative music before bedtime not only reduces anxiety, it’s great for our heart.

According to a recent press release from the European Society of Cardiology “listening to yoga music at bedtime is good for the heart”. This conclusion was based on a study of 149 people with an average age of 26. It compared the effects of yoga music, pop music and no music at all on people’s heart rate variability.

Anxiety levels dropped significantly in those listening to yoga music. Participants also said they felt more positive. Playing pop music or listening to no music at all increased their feelings of anxiety.

Selected pieces of classical music can also lull you to sleep.

Thanks to services like Spotify and Apple Music, most of us now have easy access to a whole library of relaxing tunes. You can even experiment with your favourite sleepy tunes and assemble the perfect playlist.

So, as you climb into bed after a hard day of Christmas shopping, reach for your ear buds and press play on your device – and sleep easy.