Do you know what it feels like to get your full 8 or 9 hours of sleep but still wake up feeling groggy and tired? I think we all know that feeling.
It can be incredibly frustrating to know that you slept through the night and yet you don’t feel like you actually got enough rest. What gives?
Well, not all sleep is equal. It’s likely that you didn’t get enough deep sleep, which is where all the healing and rejuvenating magic happens.
Have you heard of deep sleep music? Have you tried it? Here’s all you need to know about it to make the decision about whether or not it could help you!
What Is Deep Sleep?
Sleep isn’t just a constant state of being. We go through various stages of consciousness during the night. Deep sleep is the stage the body goes into after we fall asleep properly.
This sleep stage is highly important. Not that the others aren’t, but this is when growth, repair to tissues and bones, and cell regeneration takes place and our immune systems are strengthened.
When we go to bed, our body will move through 5 different stages of sleep. These consist of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) stages, and they both serve different purposes.
You’ll go through this cycle between four and six times in a single evening! We spend up to 90 minutes in each cycle.
Every stage of sleeps has a unique purpose and restorative function, which includes hormone regulation, memory consolidation, cell regeneration and muscle recovery.
Without a full night where deep sleep has been achieved, you’ll find that recalling information can be difficult, your immune system may weaken, and it can also lead to weight gain!
Stage 1 and 2
As you begin to fall asleep, you’ll find yourself moving between being conscious and unconscious. Many times, you may be on your way to dreamland, but still aware that you’re partially awake.
This usually lasts for 5 to 15 minutes, when you’ll finally fall into light sleep. While you’re in this light sleep, your muscles will start to relax. Sometimes, this can lead to your muscles jerking, which can wake you up briefly. Once you fall back into light sleep, your body relaxes again and you’ll start to slip into the second stage of sleep.
In stage 2 of sleep, your heart rate and breathing will gradually slow down while your body temperature decreases. This is where you’ll be in NREM sleep (Non-rapid eye movement). All movement of the eyes will stop and your brain waves will also slow down, preparing you for deep sleep.
Each cycle in stage 2 lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. You’ll spend up to 50% of your sleeping time in this stage! There are still sudden bursts of active brain waves known as “Sleep Spindles”, which last for 0.5 to 3 seconds.
Stage 3 and 4 - Deep Sleep
Stage 3 and 4 are the final stages of NREM sleep and are the deepest of the sleep stages. They’re known as delta or slow wave sleep. It’s in these stages that your body undergoes health-promoting tasks.
Your body is fully relaxed in these two stages, and it’s difficult to wake someone up once they’ve entered into them.
It’s important to get as much of this deep sleep as you possibly can, epecially if you’re under 30 years of age! Under 30, you’ll get approximately two hours of deep sleep every night. This decreases as we get older, and those who are over the age of 64 may only get 30 minutes of deep sleep per night!
Most people assume REM sleep is the deepest sleep stage, but in reality, it’s as close to waking as we are without actually being awake!
The first time you enter REM sleep, it will only last for about 10 minutes. It increases with each cycle, ending with a REM session of around an hour.
Although your limbs are temporarily paraylzed in REM sleep, this is when eye movements become rapid, muscle twitches can occur, heart rate and breathing increases, and brain activity is increased.
How Does Music Help With Deep Sleep?
Sleep music uses something called binaural beats. We’ll explain them further down, but these sounds trigger changes in the body that slow the heart rate and breathing, lower blood pressure and relax the body. The parasympathetic nervous system is directly stimulated, which helps you fall asleep quicker.
The frequency of deep sleep music is similar to the frequency of real sleep (yes, sleep has a frequency!), which starts from below 1 Hz. It ends at around 7 Hz, which is when you start to wake.
As you become more alert, the frequencies increase. The frequency of the binaural beats in the delta stages (Stages 3 and 4, between 1 Hz to 4 Hz) is associated with relaxation and deep sleep.
How Is Deep Sleep Music Different to Other Music?
We’ve known for years that music has the ability to enhance our moods and help us relax. This is because music affects different areas of the brain, and stimulates feel-good chemicals.
Deep sleep music is created with certain frequencies that are known to trigger the sleep process in the brain, while relaxing the body.
Some deep sleep music incorporates other relaxing sounds. If you wanted to fall asleep to the sound of waves, the music would be layered with the frequency for sleep.
For some, white noise is helpful. Some may assume that white noise is just static, but it actually uses layers of audible frequencies to create a continuous tone. Generally, though, white noise is used for masking external sounds instead of stimulating deep sleep.
Deep Sleep Music Frequencies
Our brain waves are vibrating electrical voltages that measure only a few millionths of a volt. These brain waves are the main frequencies of the human body!
When you listen to deep sleep music, make sure that the frequency of the music is the same as that of the sleep stage you want to achieve.
- Gamma: A high level of focus and concentration or used for problem solving.
- Beta (13 to 40 Hz): When you’re wide awake and going about your daily life.
- Alpha (8 to 12 Hz): When you wake up and start getting ready for your day, still in a relaxed state.
- Theta (4 – 8 Hz): The state you’re in as you begin to sleep, or when you’re in your light sleep stage.
- Delta (less than 4 Hz): Deep sleep, or stage 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle.
Types of Deep Sleep Music
There are two types of deep sleep music; isochronic tones and binaural beats. There are some subtle differences between the two, and it really comes down to personal preference as to which works best.
If you haven’t tried listening to sleep music before, you may want to try both and then choose the one that works best for you!
Isochronic tones are composed of a single tone that pulses very quickly. It’s like listening to a rhythmic beat, and they’re often layered with the sounds of nature or gentle music. Your brain’s frequency syncs with the music, which will start the sleep process.
Binaural beats use two tones - one in each ear, each at a slightly different frequency. Your brain processes the difference in the frequency, and will then fall into sync with the difference of the beat.
For example, if you have a frequency of 142 Hz playing in your left ear and a frequency of 131 Hz in your right ear, your brain will sync with the difference of 11 Hz. You won’t hear two tones. You’ll only hear the one tone at 11 Hz.
In order to be a true binaural beat, the two tones need to have frequencies that are less than 1000 Hz combined, and the difference can’t be more than 30 Hz. It’s pretty technical!
The best way to listen to binaural beats is through headphones, as the tones have to be listened to separately by each ear.
Where to Find the Best Deep Sleep Music
When looking for deep sleep music, most people immediately jump on the internet (specifically YouTube or SoundCloud). You can also download binaural or isochronic apps.
There’s a lot of “Deep Sleep Music” to be found, but it’s a good idea to check the Hz on the music before listening to it. You want to listen to music that is less than 4 Hz. Remember, this mimics the frequency of the Delta wave of the brain.
If you find music that is higher in Hertz, it could still help to make you feel calmer. But don’t expect it to help you sleep deeper or offer the same benefits of music less than 4 Hz.
Often, video files are compressed and that lessens the effect somewhat. But if you have nowhere else to go for binaural beats or isochronic tones, YouTube offers some decent stuff.
SoundCloud also has some really good deep sleep music, but you’d need to check the quality. When the files are uploaded, they’re compressed for size. This can alter the effect of the brain waves.
See if you can find deep sleep music that comes in a “lossless” audio file format. This would be the best quality! When searching for high-quality Deep Sleep music, look for audio files that are:
These types of files will give the same sort of quality as that of a CD. You need to be able to hear the frequencies without a loss of quality for maximum effect!
You’ll find binaural and isochronic apps in the Apple store and Google Play store. These apps will let you customize what you want to listen to, as well as allow you to download from thousands of high-resolution tracks. A great starting option is an app called Atmosphere, which you can find in both the Apple and Google store.
The app will let you create your favorite combinations. You can create separate beats for deep sleep, meditation, or even to release stress. It also has a timer, so when you’re playing it for sleep it will turn itself off eventually and prevent dead batteries!
Tips for Listening to Deep Sleep Music
The best time to listen to deep sleep music is when you get into bed, of course! Make sure the room is dark and there are no other distractions. You won’t have to prepare anything before bed, except for setting up your playlist.
Make sure you have the right type of earphones! You don’t want to wake up in the morning with sore ears. You also don’t want to get tangled in wired headphones, so investing in a great pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones will give you some peace of mind when you sleep. You also won’t lose your phone in or under your bed.
Find A Decent App
Find an app that and has quality sound tracks. If you can, read the reviews of other people’s experiences before you download one. In the end, it comes down to your personal preference.
Some apps allow you to customize your tracks. If you’re a binaural beats veteran, this feature may be of interest to you! Another consideration is free apps versus apps that you may have to pay for.
Some of the best apps include:
- My Noise.
- Binaural Beats Generator.
- Binaural Beats Therapy.
Don’t underestimate the power of deep sleep music to help you get a more restful night’s sleep! Just like sometimes we need a little motivation to get work done or get out of bed, sometimes our brains need a little help getting into the right zone for optimal rest.
Why not give some binaural beats or isochronic tones a try? There’s nothing to lose, except maybe fatigue, anxiety, and a tiny bit of cash buying the right sleep headphones!
Let us know which one works best for you! Happy (deep) sleeping!