Max Richter's Album 'Sleep' Will Literally Put You To Sleep — And That's The Whole Point
People will stop at nothing to get a good night's sleep, but refreshing rest may now be just a download away. British composer Max Richter's new album, Sleep, promises to put you to sleep, and it might just work. Via The Science of Us, this aptly-titled album provides a full eight hours of digital sleepytime entertainment, enough to get you through from lights out to alarms going off. The album is available now via iTunes, and you can check out the abundant praise for Sleep at its website. Richter and his band will perform Sleep live in Berlin this fall, with the show beginning at midnight, naturally, so concert-goers can doze off at will.
The evidence in favor of listening to music while you sleep is growing. For instance, one meta-study showed that music significantly improved experimental participants' sleep across the board, and that it took a few weeks of listening to music while sleeping to reach the maximum beneficial effect. The smaller studies of music as a sleep enhancer, though less reliable taken individually, also suggest certain ways in which listening to music while you sleep can be beneficial. One such study showed that students who listened to music slept better than those listening to audiobooks, and they showed fewer depressive symptoms as well. Older adults in a nursing home seem to do well sleeping to music, too.
In any case, sleep researchers recommend slowish, lowish, tranquil music for sleep purposes (much classical music fits the bill, in addition to newer digital work like Richter's). Listening to music while you sleep may not be for everyone — personally, every time I've attempted it, I've been way more distracted than soothed (though maybe I just didn't stick out the routine long enough). If you need something a little less interesting to lull you to sleep, there are still the good old stand-by choices: earplugs, fans, and this white noise machine that's worth its weight in gold, I promise. But it's always good to have another option.