The Best Music For Sleep (With Playlists)

hands playing a piano in the night

Whether you enjoy listening to classical, ambient, rock, or a genre only you and five other people have heard of, there are countless songs that are ideal for relaxation and sleep.

Having said that, if you’re a punk, metal, grime, or techno fan, you can probably count on one hand the number of tracks that were written with the aim of inducing sleep.

Over the last few years, I’ve been steadily creating four different playlists for nighttime snoozing. Below you’ll find the complete lists, with links to Spotify so you can listen to them when you feel the need.

I hope they work nicely for you, with no hidden explosions of tempo or jarring volume changes. Just a nice smooth ride into your dream world.

Classical music

Even if classical music isn’t your thing, it’s hard to resist the relaxing effect that these beautiful pieces have at the right time and in the right place. These composers are all indisputable masters. Like Jedi, only with quills instead of lightsabers.


  1. Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven)
  2. Gymnopédie No.1 (Satie)
  3. Symphony 9, 3rd movement, Adagio molto e cantabile (Beethoven)
  4. Clair De Lune (Debussy)
  5. Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068 (Bach)
  6. Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major (Mozart)
  7. Serenade no.10 (Mozart)
  8. Adagio for Strings (Barber)
  9. Canon in D (Pachelbel)
  10. Méditation from the opera Thaïs (Massenet)
  11. Piano Quintet in A Major – 2, Andante (Schubert)
  12. Berlin Song (Einaudi)
  13. Piano Concerto in A minor (Grieg)
  14. Clarinet Quintet in B Minor (Brahms)
  15. Traumerei (Schumann)
  16. Sonata 16 C major (Mozart)
  17. Piano sonata No. 8 in C Minor. Op. 13 (Beethoven)
  18. Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight” (Beethoven)
  19. Ave Maria (Bach)
  20. Laudate Dominum (Mozart)
  21. Nocturne En Mi Bémol Majeur Opus 9 n°2 (Chopin)

Contemporary classical

I’m not entirely sure what point in time marks the end of classical music and the beginning of contemporary classical, so forgive me if one or two here belong in the section above. Personally, I love some of the modern piano music being composed, and this is my favorite playlist right now. It’s also the only thing that calms my dog when he’s lost in post-dinner zoomies.


  1. Opus 20 and 23 (Dustin O’Halloran)
  2. Opus 23 (Dustin O’Halloran)
  3. Prelude 2 (Dustin O’Halloran)
  4. River Flows In You, Passing By (Yiruma)
  5. River Flows In You, Twilight (Yiruma)
  6. Nuvole Bianche (Ludovico Einaudi)
  7. Spiegel Im Spiegel (Pärt)
  8. The Heart Asks Pleasure First (Michael Nyman)
  9. Ambre (Nils Frahm)
  10. Comptine D’un Autre été (Yann Tiersen)
  11. In The Morning Light (Yanni)
  12. Seductive (Dominic Anderson)
  13. One Man’s Dream (Yanni)
  14. We Should Waltz (Kevin Kern)
  15. Waterfalls (Alexis Ffrench)
  16. Calm Seas (Philippe Sanderos)
  17. The Armed Man (Karl Jenkins)
  18. The End of All Our Exploring (Max Richter)
  19. Début (Mélanie Laurent)
  20. Vladimir’s Blues (Max Richter)
  21. Carousel #3 (Federico Albanese)
  22. Cavu (Ann Sweeten)
  23. An Amalgamation Waltz 18 (Joep Beving)
  24. Every Ending Is A New Beginning (Joep Beving)
  25. Bluebird (Alexis French)
  26. Le Onde (Ludovico Einaudi)
  27. Sleeping Lotus (Joep Beving)
  28. The Light She Brings (Joep Beving)
  29. Fin (Melanie Laurent)
  30. Soffia La Notte (Fabrizio Paterlini)
  31. La Valse d’Amélie (Yann Tiersen)
  32. Some (Nils Frahm)
  33. Falling, Catching (Agnes Obel)
  34. To The Sky (Dirk Maassen)
  35. Sometimes (Fion Kippenren)
  36. Trilho (Pedro Meirelles)

Chill-out and ambient

This playlist starts off with some relaxing, but upbeat chill-out. The second half slows things right down, with some brain entrainment tracks included that might help send you on your way to a peaceful night’s sleep.


  1. So Easy, Melody A.M. (Royskopp)
  2. The Promise (Ryan Farish)
  3. Structures from Silence (Steve Roach)
  4. Cafe Del Mar – they produce compilation albums, with lots of great chill-out. On the playlist I’ve included an ambient remix of Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie, Summer Sun by Chris Coco, and Troya by Rue du Soleil to give some examples.
  5. 14:31, from 76.14 (Global Communications)
  6. Structure of Ambient Life (Diatonis)
  7. Shpongle Falls, from Are you Sphongled (Simon Posford and Raja Ram)
  8. Earth Garden (Nanda)
  9. Shivai (Mantra Man)
  10. RCA (+) (Carbon Based Lifeforms)
  11. Cathedral Oceans (John Foxx)
  12. Complex Heaven (Brian Eno, John Hopkins & Leo Abrahams)
  13. Discreet Music (Brian Eno) – note that this is 32 minutes long!
  14. Music for Airports (Brian Eno) – another epic at 48 minutes long.
  15. Weightless Parts 1-6 (Marconi Union) – this was specifically written to be extremely relaxing. I’ve even heard it called the most relaxing song ever. It was also intended to be long enough for you to listen, relax and fall asleep to.
  16. A lovely Place To Be (Patrick O’Hearn)
  17. Bless This Morning Year (Helios)
  18. Pacific (Deep Divers)
  19. Glow Stick (Deep Divers)
  20. The Cage, Be My Baby (Deep Divers)
  21. A relevant Space (Sircle) – ethereal music specifically created for use in flotation tanks.
  22. A Lunar Descent (Sircle)
  23. Fearless (Future Zen)
  24. Deep Theta (Steven Halpern)
  25. Bless This Morning Year (Helios)
  26. Pacific (Deep Divers)
  27. Glowstick (Deep Divers)
  28. The Cage (Deep Divers)
  29. A Relevant Space (Sircle)
  30. A Lunar Descent (Sircle)
  31. Fearless (Future Zen)
  32. Elisa’s Theme (Alexandre Desplat)
  33. Circles (AAESPO)
  34. Somnus V (Lyz Cooper)
  35. The Brilliant Light Of What’s To Come (Aidan Tulloch)

World music

Many moons ago, I used to go into the enormous Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street in London and take random world music CDs to the listening post on the hunt for new music.

Once in a while, I’d discover something that would inspire me to buy the CD. Ahh, the good old days of physically owning music and seeing your stacks of CDs grow on a shelf! Here are some of my current favorites, both from my listening post days and Spotify recommendations that actually made sense.


  1. Debe (Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté) – If you haven’t heard it before, I highly recommend the stunningly beautiful entire album ‘In the Heart of the Moon’.
  2. 800 (Mercan Dede)
  3. 18 Mayis (Mercan Dede)
  4. Amazonia (Deep Forest)
  5. Yeha-Noha (Sacred Spirit)
  6. Saxophone, Song of Miho (Paul Winter Consort)
  7. One Man’s Dream (Yanni)
  8. Djarimirri (Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu)
  9. Echoes of Time (R. Carlos Nakai)
  10. Compassion: Om Mane Padme Hum (The Gyuto Monks of Tibet)
  11. May It Be (Enya)
  12. Rain of Blessings (Lama Gyurme)
  13. Basin Street Blues (Lake City Stompers)
  14. Divano (ERA)

Your recommendations

If you have any suggestions to add to any of these playlists, feel free to share your recommendations in the comments below.

If you’re a musician keen to get your music onto a playlist, you’re welcome to email me ( Or just leave a comment with information about your music and a link to Spotify if it’s available there. I do read and reply to all the emails, and will listen to your music while I’m working. I believe in supporting new musicians, so I’ll listen with an open mind even if it’s not immediately my thing.

Enjoy and sleep well!


  1. Hello,
    I’m not good with technology and don’t have Spotify. Is there an easy way to download the playlists so I can listen to the playlists even when I don’t have internet access e.g. at sea or in a remote area?

    • Hi Jeffrey
      Unfortunately not if you don’t have access to Spotify. You could use any other music player you have access to (if you do) and create your own playlist based on my written tracklists. But that would take time, and require some ability to use the technology. How do you normally listen to music?

  2. I just loved all the classical music on this website. I teach in an incarcerated institution prison.
    The stress can be intolerable at times so the music by Beethoven and Mozart really allows me to relax and daydream, during my lunch break. Please include,” Music Box Dancer” if you can. I raised both my children on the classics as well as listening to opera. Can you include some of the excerpts from Don Giovani and others? Thank you for this website!

    • Hi Adrienne
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m pleased to hear you liked the playlists. I agree that classical music can be a great antidote to stress! Thanks for your suggestion, but I think Music Box Dancer is a touch too upbeat for my sleep playlists. I’ll relisten to some Don Giovani when I have time though and see if any can be snuck in.

    • That’s a great soundtrack, thanks for the suggestion. Perhaps a bit dramatic in terms of the volume change in places, but still I can see why you might like it.

  3. Hey Ethan! Great playlists, love your taste!! I’m a brand new artist in the neoclassical ambient piano world. We’re definitely on the same modern classical page. Would love to hear what you think of my debut single. I’m writing as Isle’r, and this first release is called “Through the Glass”.

    • Hi Sam
      I just took a listen and really liked it, so have added it to the Spotify playlist. Let me know when you have more work published in the future too.

  4. Hi Ethan,

    A song that might fit your playlist is Sunken Dreams, which I wrote. From all my compositions, this is the one that I would recommend to have a listen to.

    Wishing you and your loved ones a happy 2021!

    Best, Umeå Bodø

  5. hi Ethan,
    maybe check this out:
    Artist: Sushi Tuesdays
    Album: Three Lullabies
    Tracks: Lullaby Waltz, Waltz Bonne Nuit, Waltz Berceuse.
    I know a lot of people who throw them on repeat when they wanna sleep.

    • Hi Marc
      Thanks for the suggestion. I just had a listen, and think they’d be particularly good for kids. Not my personal cup of tea though as they are very clearly lullabies intended for children in my opinion.

  6. Hi Ethan –
    Just stumbled across this post. Great ideas for playlists. Nice choices between the types of “Sleep music” too.
    If you ever consider new music, I make music for just this purpose and have four pieces currently out. If you have a moment, please give them a listen. I’d love to get some feedback about them.
    Artist Name: Fion Kippenren (on all streaming platforms)
    Thank you so much for all the sleep information. I realized how much of it I can use for my own insomnia!

    • Hi Curtis
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the delay in replying. I just has a listen and I like the song ‘Sometimes’ so have added it to the Spotify playlist.
      All the best with your future music creating!

  7. Dear Ethan

    Have you listened to Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep. and Long Ambients 2? by Moby? I discovered his albums when I flying a night flight from Los Angeles to London Heathrow. Every track – and I mean every track – is over 17 minutes long! Long… but worth every second since he wants people to feel relaxed. My personal favorites from these albums are LA1, LA4, LA5, LA6, LA7, LA9, LA11, LA13 & LA14.

    I’m not sponsored by Moby, but both of these albums are are available by him for FREE.

    • Hi Brett
      I have, and will do again after reading your comment as I haven’t listened to them for a long time. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. Hi Ethan
    Enjoying your playlists. Could I suggest a piece for consideration? The Velvet Strand by Diarmuid J Kennedy

    Kind Regards

  9. Thanks for the awesome playlists Ethan. I really liked the classical one, and appreciate how long it is!

  10. Hi Ethan
    Hope you are doing well!
    Thank you for this article it has helped me a lot. I suggest checking out an album called Dear Sonya by Littleking. He made a 13 songs dedicated to helping people sleep and anxiety. It has helped so many of my friends. I strongly suggest it! Hope you enjoy it

    • Hi Ryan
      Very well thanks! I will definitely have a listen, thank you for the suggestion.

  11. Hi Ethan,

    good idea and great playlists!
    Have a listen to two of our songs, which could fit in:

    1. Windspiel (game of the wind) by Tina Ternes:
    2. Eight Strings:
    Thank you and keep on!

  12. If you enjoy solo piano music to relax, then you might like this new release (“November”) by solo pianist and composer Casey Crosby

    • Hi Martina
      Thanks for the suggestion. I enjoyed listening to this, but wonder if it has too much of a crescendo to listen to when sleeping?

  13. Please check out this relaxing and peaceful piano music. Mellow piano sounds and slow tempos to help people to fall asleep. Some of the tracks have nature sounds in the background.

    • Hi Lilly
      Thanks for the suggestion – I know that playlist I, or at least one with a similar name. They can usually be relied upon to provide the right kind of music to drift off to.

  14. When I went to University, I found that classical music relaxed me and allowed me to drift off.

    I now have a TBI and music which helps me drift off is modern worldwide classical music.

    I listen to Thai, Aboriginal, anything which makes me relax.

    I thought I was a one off, but reading the website, I know I am not.

    • Hi Justin
      Thanks for your comment. There’s so much amazing music out there, you’re definitely not alone in having a more eclectic choice of music that you find relaxing.

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