Songs (for you) if you can’t sleep

Insomnia. I’ve experienced it off and on ever since I was young, for varying reasons. As an adult, it was often a partner to stress-induced anxiety. Because that’s when you really need insomnia, when you’re already in a constant state of “tired,” right? I just struggle to turn my brain off at night sometimes.

One method that I’ve developed to help myself out is listening to a specific playlist of music. Sometimes, by playing music from my iPhone near my head, I’m able to focus on what I’m listening to instead of my thoughts and essentially lull my mind to sleep.

I use a short playlist that I rearrange every now and then depending on what songs I most want to listen to, and I never put it on shuffle. Apparently, if my mind knows exactly what order the songs are going to come on, it relaxes more–I suppose it makes sense, because there’s sort of an anticipation aspect with the shuffle mode, and anticipation has no proper place in trying to fall asleep. My brain also prefers to know that the playlist is short so that the phone won’t be on for hours throughout the night. Conservative Brain. I typically start out with a song that has words, so I start to focus on the lyrics. The songs progressively become less inhabited by a voice, as well as softer in tone and slower in tempo.

I’ve used this method often enough to keep two playlists on my phone for these nightly occasions: one playlist that contains all the songs that I’ve used for falling asleep, and another that contains a short list of the ones I’m currently preferring.

So I thought that I’d share some of my favorites, in celebration of the songs that have helped me sleep and in case anyone is in need of something like this. I know I’m not the only insomniac out there.

  1. “Twinkle” by Tori Amos, Boys for Pele
  2. “Atlas Hands” by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm
  3. “The Sun and the Moon” by Mae, The Everglow
  4. “This Place is a Shelter,” by Ólafur Arnalds, Living Room Songs 
  5. “Poland” by Ólafur Arnalds, Another Happy Day
  6. “Rosyln” by Bon Iver & St. Vincent, The Twilight Saga: New Moon 
  7. “The Houses of Healing” by Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – The Complete Recordings
  8. “You Belong to Me” (cover) by Jason Wade, Shrek
  9. “Come; Follow” by Great Awakening, Songs in Secret
  10. “The Bells” by From Indian Lakes, Acoustic EP
  11. “MLK” by U2, The Unforgettable Fire
  12. “Flótavik” by Sigur Rós, Med Sud Í Eryum Vid Spilum Endalaust
  13. “The Journey to Greyhavens” by Howard Shore,  The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – The Complete Recordings
  14. “You Are My Home” by The Sleep Design, All that is not Music is Silence
  15. “The Dirt (Alpha)” by Showbread, Nervosa
  16. “Possibility” by Lykke Li, The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  17. “All Alright” by Sigur Rós, Med Sud Í Eryum Vid Spilum Endalaust
  18. “Deora Ar Mo Chroi” by Enya, A Day Without Rain

Do you have any experience with this, or have your own songs for conjuring calmness? Let me know; I’d love to check them out.

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