Music has a well-documented affect on our brain chemistry. In a 2011 piece, Psychology Today explored this phenomenon, and noted music affects the brain in a way that is comparable to sex, delicious food, and sleep. But, there is a key difference in that music is not necessary for survival like the other three. Perhaps that is what makes it so special. There is music to fit every mood, so next time you're struggling to get out of bed consider listening to one of these five playlists to wake up to in the morning.
Music triggers the brain to release dopamine, the "feel good chemical" — so if it seems to put you in a better mood, it's not in your head (or it is, rather). In an effort to explore how music affects the brain, scientists from McGill University in Canada surveyed 217 participants (that was subsequently narrowed down to eight), who consistently responded the same way when listening to music, regardless of the listening environment. The brain scans that followed determined when people anticipate, then actually experience a pleasurable response while listening to music, the human brain responds in a distinct and specific way in order to release dopamine. Basically, the experience of listening to music — which is far more abstract than, say, eating — elicits a similar brain response to a more concrete experience. It is a unique finding that says a lot about the brain's reward process.
Could listening to music in the morning make your AM a little easier? It's definitely worth a shot! Try these mixes out.
1. For An Energetic Start
This "Happy Music" playlist is five hours worth of music sure to put a spring in your step. It is like a double espresso only one you can listen to. Plus, almost 12,000 users on Spotify follow the list, so it has to be doing something right.
2. For Embracing The Morning Routine
This "Morning Commute" playlist is a really great mix of a lot of different music released in recent memory. If it takes you a little bit of time to get out the front door (or perhaps just get out of bed) this is an excellent soundtrack for your AM routine.
3. For Singing As The Sun Rises
By far the most popular playlist on this, the "Songs to Sing in the Shower" playlist stands more than three million followers strong. It makes sense, few things are as invigorating as belting the lyrics to an overplayed song you know by heart. Think outside of the shower stall: play this in every room of your home.
4. For When You Need To Finish Some Work
Spotify's "Productive Morning" playlist is the perfect mix for those mornings you need to wake up and get right to work (I'm looking at you college students). In fact, this is a playlist I often come back to while writing. Lyrics are sparse and the sounds are dreamy. This playlist is the perfect soundtrack to your last-minute morning studying sesh.
5. For When You Want to Take It All In
Alright, full disclosure: this is a playlist I created. I've been building on it since beginning college in 2013 and am constantly reworking it; adding and removing tracks. The mix of peaceful music encompasses work from the past 50 years, and is ideal for watching the sun rise. Maybe you're trying to take life a bit more slowly; let this playlist help facilitate that goal.