Can going to a music festival actually improve your sleep?

Concert lights in purple similar to what one might see at a concert or music festival
April 24th, 2024

Ok, maybe music festivals are not the best place to catch some zzz’s; for most people, the idea of using music as a sleep aid may be strange and even counterproductive. After all, music is most associated with keeping you energized or focused on a task at hand.

However, scientific evidence suggests that music could be beneficial for sleep health. Many individuals may find that using music helps them fall asleep, stay asleep longer, and improves their overall sleep quality.

Let’s find out how ⬇️

The Science Behind Music and Sleep

Evidence Supporting Music as a Sleep Aid

Music supports recovery sleep primarily because of its calming effect on the body. Many studies suggest that music may activate parasympathetic activity (the rest, recovery, and digest part of the central nervous system), reduce breathing rate, blood pressure, and heart rate, as well as produce the same effects as sedatives and analgesics on the body.

Sometimes a poor mood can make it difficult for people to fall asleep. Music has been shown to alleviate depression symptoms and improve mood.

Interestingly, several studies have explored the potential effects of music on improving sleep health for many groups of people; let’s go through some of them!

Music’s Impact on Sleep & Why It Works For Many Individuals

SleepScore and Myndstream teamed up for a study that highlighted the importance of a consistent bedtime routine for achieving quality sleep, with music playing a key role in this process. We partnered with Myndstream to conduct a study on the efficacy of their new “Fast Asleep, Powered by Myndstream” album, revealing exciting results:

  • A 15% decrease in time spent awake at night

  • Participants gained over 2.5 hours more deep sleep per month on average (a 7% increase)

  • Participants reported a 23% increase in feeling well-rested in the morning

Listen to the Myndstream playlist

In a 2018 study examining why people listen to music to aid sleep and why it works for them, researchers observed that music may help to ease anxiety and arousal, lift mood, and promote relaxation. Furthermore, many participants mentioned using music as a means to divert themselves from negative thoughts that may prevent them from falling asleep.

The participants mentioned other reasons they listened to music during bedtime, stating that music:

  1. Helps them focus

  2. Clears their mind

  3. Improves their mood

  4. Aids relaxation

  5. Provides comfort

  6. Supports deep breathing

  7. Distracts their mind from intrusive thoughts

  8. Blocks out external noise

  9. Helps track their sleep duration

  10. Shapes their nighttime dream

  11. Helps them feel warm and secure

The researchers of a 2018 study summarized the mechanism at work that explains why music may improve sleep quality as follows:

  1. Music may regulate sympathetic nerve activity and decrease stress hormone levels

  2. Music may support oxytocin release, a hormone known for its anti-stress effects in aiding feelings of calm and relaxation

  3. Music improves mood and supports emotional health

Music’s Impact on Sleep in Younger Individuals

An older study explored the effect of music as an intervention for improving sleep in young people who experienced poor sleep. The researchers noted that music may reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, lower anxiety levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate. It may also help relax the muscles and keep the mind from having intrusive thoughts. When the body is in this state, it’s more able to fall into the sleep zone and have a restful and refreshing night’s rest. The study’s findings suggest that relaxing classical music may alleviate sleep problems and improve sleep health.

Music Therapy’s Impact on Individuals with Sleep Disorders

A 2014 study investigating the effectiveness of music therapy for managing acute and chronic sleep issues found that music may improve the sleep quality of people with sleep disorders. Not to mention that a study found that music may help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manage their insomnia symptoms. The researchers also noted that music enhances sleep efficiency and reduces depressive symptoms. In another study on the effects of music on the sleep quality of people with schizophrenia, the researchers found that music improved sleep efficiency and reduced the time it took for them to fall asleep and may be used to improve their sleep quality and emotional health.

How long does it take for music to improve sleep quality? 

While everyone is different, some research suggests that listening to music every night for at least two to four weeks may lead to positive sleep outcomes.

For instance, evidence shows that sleep problems are common among older adults, and sleep disorders may become more severe. A 2021 study found that older adults may also benefit from music to support restful sleep. The researchers also recommended using sedative music for at least four weeks as a simple and cost-effective intervention for improving sleep quality in older adults.

Similarly, a 2020 study recommends listening to music for at least three weeks to promote healthy sleep in people with mild sleep problems.

Another study found that pregnant women who listened to music at bedtime for two weeks experienced improved sleep quality and lower stress and anxiety levels.

To explore how listening to music can aid your sleep, try out our Prove It™️ app feature to conduct your own sleep experiment!

What kinds of music work for improving sleep? 

While one study supports the use of classical music to improve sleep quality, a different study simply suggests the use of sedative music at bedtime for better sleep. However, some other studies argue that music supporting healthy sleep depends on each person’s preference, and that a person’s favorite kind of music to listen to during bedtime works better for promoting proper sleep than any unfamiliar songs.

Practical Tips for Integrating Music into Your Sleep Routine

🎵 Create a playlist of relaxing, soothing songs to play at bedtime

🔉 Keep the volume moderate to ensure the music soothes rather than stimulates

🎧 Consider using portable speakers or home audio systems to make the experience more immersive


As many studies have shown, music may benefit various individuals, including yourself, when it comes to improving sleep health. Although the kind of music that may promote sleep is still under debate, generally consider choosing soothing music; your nervous system will thank you! While a weekend-long music festival won’t improve your sleep quality, integrating music into sleep hygiene practices offers a simple, accessible method to enhance mental and physical well-being. Whether you’re a Bach fan or prefer the soft sounds of acoustic instruments, incorporating music into your nighttime routine could be a key to unlocking better sleep.

Happy listening~