The Best Music To Sleep To, With Spotify Playlists

photo of a piano in the night with the words 'relaxing music for sleep' written on it

The best music to fall asleep to is arguably whatever you personally find most relaxing.

Having said that, it’s also arguably better to pick music that isn’t too energetic, or have dramatic changes in volume, tempo or style.

So it’s probably a lot easier for a lover of classical music to create a good nighttime playlist than a rock or metal fan!

But even classical music can start out peacefully, only to startle you with an unexpected crescendo.

So this is my extensively researched list of calm music for bedtime listening. I’ve split it into classical, contemporary classical, chill-out and ambient, and finally world music. Sorry, no rock for the time being.

I listen to music all day while working, and try to ensure there aren’t too many hidden surprises in the songs I pick. Hopefully the notes of music drifting into your ears will in turn help you drift off to sleep.

Enjoy!

Classical music

Track list

  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)

Contemporary classical

Track list

  1. Opus 20 and 23 (Dustin O’Halloran)
  2. Prelude 2 (Dustin O’Halloran) – I’m a huge O’Halloran fan when it comes to relaxing piano music!
  3. River Flows In You, Passing By (Yiruma)
  4. River Flows In You, Twilight (Yiruma)
  5. Nuvole Bianche (Ludovico Einaudi)
  6. Spiegel Im Spiegel (Pärt)
  7. The heart asks pleasure first (Michael Nyman)
  8. Ambre (Nils Frahm)
  9. Comptine d’un autre été, from Amelie (Yann Tiersen)
  10. In The Morning Light (Yanni)
  11. Seductive (Dominic Anderson)
  12. One Man’s Dream (Yanni)
  13. We Should Waltz (Kevin Kern)
  14. Waterfalls (Alexis Ffrench)
  15. Calm Seas (Philippe Sanderos)
  16. The Armed Man (Karl Jenkins)
  17. The End of All Our Exploring (Max Richter)

Chill-out and ambient

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

Track list

  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)

World music

Track list

  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)

Your recommendations

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

81 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thank you for this nice compilation on Spotify! I’d like to recommend 432 hz music and especially the Solfeggio Frequencies for meditation, too. You don’t find much about it on Spotify, but there are several nice productions on Amazon.
    Best regards
    Alex

    • Hi Alex
      You’re welcome, and thanks for your recommendation too. I’ll have a listen to it now!
      Regards
      Ethan

    • That’s quite upbeat as well! If you can sleep with such lively music, that’s great. Personally, I need something a little slower.
      Ethan

  • Alt-J this is all yours. Love listening to this on headphones. I always focus on how many different sounds are going on. There’s a lot of synth in their music :)

    • Hi Katie
      Thanks for your suggestion. I’ve just been listening to them on your recommendation. I think for me personally, there’s a bit too much going on in their songs to make them ideal for sleep. But I did really like them, and will add them to one of my daytime playlists!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Hello Ethan from Germany,
    Classical Music doesn´t work for me to sleep better. For my sleep and relaxation Ambient music like “Schiller”, “Enya” or much slower and soothing like “Future Zen” workes best to not think and fall asleep. Maybe give it a try:

    ENYA: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6uothxMWeLWIhsGeF7cyo4
    FUTURE ZEN: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3zwJNZOTzw2Jwr9k1i9q9B

    By the way, The heart asks pleasure first is a wonderful piece of music but it gives me to much memories.

    Peace, Felix

    • Hi Felix
      Thanks for your suggestions. Enya is a great recommendation – I used to listen to her a lot when I was younger, and always found the music relaxing. I’ll have a listen to future Zen now while I finish replying to comments!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I usually listen to the Peaceful Piano playlist on Spotify, which, if you haven’t heard it, I definitely recommend. But it has a little too much contrast for going to and staying asleep, so I will try your piano list. Thanks a lot!

    I have tried some of the YouTube all night things but those have the opposite problem—too boring!

    • Hi Lisa
      Thanks for your comment. I have heard playlists with that name before, and you often find the same songs cropping up. Too much contrast can be an issue with piano and classical music. I’ve tried to avoid it in my playlist, but there will inevitably be a bit of it happening from time to time. I hope you like it though!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Your list is very good, the classic albums from Brian Eno and John Foxx are great, also Steve Roach has a huge work, but this album from Sircle is so fantastic, an deep journey that made me go to places never visited, thank you.

    I want to recommend one for you too, from 2010: Voices from the Lake

  • Thank you for your suggestions.
    What usually help me is the album Ommadawn by Mike Oldfield. His original Tubular Bells sometimes also do the trick, but has some noisy parts.

  • One song I love to listen to is imagine by John Lenon. Another good song is This is gospel by panic at the disco. ps. it needs to be the piano version

  • I haven’t listened to any of your songs yet, but for me, country music seems to put me to sleep, pretty easily. But it’s better if you listen too the slower kind of coundry music, as it’s more calm and relaxing

    • Hi Scott
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t have any country on this list – as far as I can remember! I’m not very knowledgeable about the genre, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Try contemporary “post minimalist/ambient” classical composer Max Richter’s
    8 hour!
    dvd album
    “Sleep”.
    This was premiered in a concert hall in London providing sleeping bags instead of seats.

    There is a 1 hour version on DGG Records that will give you an idea. Very calm combination of simple piano and string sounds/notes, with a more or less droning voice. Very calmative. Also not bad music.

    cioue
    from
    Sleepless in Tulsa
    (‘klonopin-withdrawal insomnia rebound’)

    • Hi Gerardo
      Thanks for your comment. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this one before! I’m listening to it now on Youtube, and hoping I don’t fall asleep while replying to comments here…
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I feel that others may think this is odd, but listening to Bon Jovi, AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses style of music helps me fall asleep by taking my mind off of stuff.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think it’s weird at all! Just because some music doesn’t necessarily fall into the general category of ‘relaxing’ doesn’t mean that some people do find it relaxing!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Also Sigur Rós. I love the album (). It is commonly called “untitled”. It is dark, melancholy and haunting but oddly comforting.

  • Check out the album Rain of Blessings by Lama Gyurme & Jean Philippe Rykiel. Amazing. And I love Dustin O’Halloran as well. Used to go see Devics play often a long time ago. Cheers and sweet dreams.

  • I was wondering if you can listen to any kind of music? can it hurt your brain cells, and make you loose memories and make you less smarter?

  • Global Communication 14:31 (I just roll the entire 76:14 release) with rainymood.com has never failed me. In fact, it’s 10:35 PM now, and time to go night-night…. Guess what’s rolling.

    Try it – you’ll be asleep before you know it.

  • i listen to rap and it helps me fall asleep at lot but in the morning i listen to rock music to make me wake up. Nothing better than someone screaming random words and loud drums in the background in the morning.

  • Thank you for your list. My two favorite CD’s for falling asleep are Brian Eno & Harold Budd ‘Ambient 2 – The Plateaux of Mirror’ and Popol Vuh ‘Hosianna Mantra’.

  • I know this may sound crazy but I love to listen to pop like on Spotify best playlists this year makes me extremely tired

    • Hi James
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the playlists. Your link works fine, and I’m listening to the playlist right now. It’s great, so thanks for taking the time to share it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Great article, love the ambient suggestions, I can only really use them because you can let them wash over you without having to focus on vocals or distinct tunes. I either stick on a youtube playlist or a site like jukedeck/play, it writes continuous ambient music so I don’t worry about changing tracks in the middle of the night.

    • Hi Doug
      Thanks for your comment. Maybe you could try spotify and try the study/relaxation section and look at what they have for pop and rock. You can find playlists with very relaxing music of those genres, which you might enjoy more.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Classical music is also very helpful when I need to work and stay focused. However, I haven’t tried it for sleeping. I am going to give it try for sure. Interesting article!

    • I agree! Playlist links would be great. Also maybe add another batch sometime with recent releases and more great tracks from timeless genres. Also for world can u specify where in the world each track is from?

      I have always needed a fan on or music to fall asleep and now my two year old needs it to stay asleep. I’ve explored some streamed albums on my iPhone but we overuse the few we liked and others were just ok. She likes Celtic lullabies and traditional Irish songs that are soft, not boozy lol, Celtic harp. Classical is good if u know what ur listening to. It’s so emotional and expressive and I don’t know particular albums or artists well enough to know if it sounds peaceful at first it won’t startle me forty minutes later.

      To other commenters:
      Anyone find some good playlists you can link me to? Any one have suggestions from other genres? alternative, indie, emo rock. punk (sounds odd but there’s many subgenres that are more melodic and slower and possibly acoustic like folk punk, as well as individual songs by bands, including some that they have put out for their children, or sometimes alive song), hip hop even, pop and by top 40 artists not necessarily recent.

      So far I’ve really liked an album I found on my iPhone by a man named Chris richter who does relaxing acoustic versions of popular alternative and indie songs. But o need a break

      • Hi Rae
        Thanks for the reminder that I still need to get round to updating this article! I’ve been so busy, it keeps getting pushed down the list. Hopefully at some point I’ll get round and take on board these suggestions. In the meantime, let’s hope other readers have some ideas for you.
        Regards
        Ethan

  • I have found that Native American flute music is very soothing in my personal opinion. I have started trying that and it has helped me to not lay wide awake for hours. I would suggest you try that if nothing above works. Classical island ambient noise are my second and third choices.

  • Of late I have not been able to get ample sleep mostly after 12. all I hear are footsteps from outside so what I do is wake up my boyfriend to keep me company. At times it hits there are people outside trying to reach out to me. I try listening to music and it doesn’t even help. So please help

    • Hi Valentine,

      Are the footsteps you hear and the feeling people are trying to reach out only happening while you are in bed trying to sleep? And do you know if there are people actually there, or are you hearing these noises when they aren’t there? It may be that you are experiencing some kind of sleep disorder which I have other articles on in this website. But you would need to give more information to offer any ideas.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Guess that I’m the type who needs silence to sleep because generally if I listen to music whilst trying to fall asleep I find myself getting ‘excited’ as I enjoy the music too much, which results in me staying up to listen to it!!! However I have not tried to listen to any of the music that you have listed above so will maybe give some of those a try… especially interested in the ambient noises of a thunderstorm (i like rain!!) …Anything to get a little more sleep! I’ll let you know how I get on. Cheers Ethan.

    • Hi Buffey
      I think you’re completely right about music having the potential to keep you awake if it is too engaging. For some people, music is just not an option to fall asleep to. You may find natural sounds like thunderstorms and rain work for you. Let me know how you get on.
      Ethan

    • Unless it’s ambient, I listen to an album or playlist that I know every single track or an instrumental version, it helps ease the excitement. I can’t wonder what song is next and either there’s no lyrics or I know them do well that it’s almost like counting sheep

  • Thank you for such an interesting and helpful choice of relaxing music. Classical music is my choice, especially when I need to relax either with sleep or problem solving as this always puts my mind into a better place to focus thoughts.

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