Updated: Oct 23, 2020
During coaching sessions, I often hear people wonder about what they can do in lieu of watching TV or scrolling through social media, all with the goal of winding down and limiting blue light exposure. One thing that you can do and something that I definitely do for myself is simply to use your sense of hearing instead of sight.
Personally, turning off screens is a welcome change after spending way too much time staring at them, especially now as we live our lives pretty much virtually during lockdown (which, by the way, we're experiencing in my area once again). My eyes have taken a beating, and so I've switched from reading to listening to podcasts, audiobooks, music... and to an old beloved standby - the radio.
In fact, I am now actively working on a podcast for you, and one of the most amazing things about doing this is that it reminds me of a time when I was taking a sound class, way back when people were cutting and splicing tape, not editing on laptops. I am thoroughly enjoying thinking of ways to make the podcast informative while at the same time entertaining.
We've actually decided not to create your run-of-the-mill, straightforward health and wellness podcast, where all we do is share information. Who said that we need to stick to the expected format? (Honestly, that would become too stale too quickly for me.)
However, back to the topic at hand: which sounds are best for winding down?
Well, music with 60 - 80 beats per minute (bpm) seems to be conducive to sleep, especially when it consists of familiar songs. Classical music and other relaxing sounds are beneficial as well. To tell you the truth, though, I much prefer mixing it up, especially if it's about "winding down" music that I can start playing way before bedtime, which - as I always say - is best. Good sleep starts long before bedtime, you know.
So, think of listening to music, between 60 - 80 bpm, in the different styles that you enjoy. Don't worry too much about sleeping. It's okay if you find your feet starting to tap (really, it's okay). Again, do include songs that you enjoy. The range of music and styles that have been found to facilitate relaxation and sleep is actually quite wide.
Start this winding down routine around two to three hours before bedtime. Then, switch to music and sounds that you know really do prime you for sleep as the time for it nears.
So, what does music at 60 to 80 bpm sound like?
Well, here are some songs that fall within the 60 - 80 bpm range:
Losing Hope - Jack Johnson 72 bpm
Broken Drum - Beck 70 bpm
Drift - Brian Eno 69 bpm
Straumnes - Sigur Rós 68 bpm
Tainted Love - Soft Cell 67 bpm
Moondance - Van Morrison 67 bpm
Grand Piano - Nicki Minaj 64 bpm
To make it easier for you, I've created a playlist so that you can listen to them more easily:
So, as you can hear, the music is quite varied. These are simply examples of songs in the 60 to 80 bpm range. Choose your own music. Remember, familiar songs work well. So, the more often you play songs, the more you are likely to prime yourself better for winding down and sleep.
Now, of course, you could also listen to nature sounds, white noise, and pink noise... but I figured I'd give you a taste of what kind of music could be on your "Wind Down" playlist. Who knows? Maybe I'll come up with one for you, myself...
Until next time, sleep well.