Life

20 soothing, beautiful songs guaranteed to help you fall asleep

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
Published

For members of the Wide Awake Club, falling asleep can be a nightly tussle between a constantly-whirring mind and an increasingly-exhausted body.

If you’re one of the third of Brits who suffer from insomnia, you’ll know first-hand that getting enough sleep is a problem that sometimes can’t be solved by industrial amounts of lavender pillow spray, or a mug of warm milk before bed.

And that’s where classical music comes in.

Scientists have long studied the benefits of listening to soothing music before you fall asleep, and some studies have pinpointed classical music in particular as a genre that can help us to drift off. 

But with such a massive catalogue of classical music available on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, how do you know where to start with whittling down the songs that could help you fall asleep?

Could classical music help you fall asleep?

Could classical music help you fall asleep?

Clemency Burton-Hill, a broadcaster, journalist, violinist and author of Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day, has a specialist interest in classical music – and has long used the genre to help her drift off.

“We’ve all been there, haven’t we?” she tells Stylist.co.uk. “You’ve had a crazy day and you can’t unwind, then when you eventually get to bed you check your phone and lose yourself in an Instagram scroll hole for a while. Then you finally shut your eyes, but it’s no good: your mind won’t quieten down, sleep is elusive, and the more exhausted you feel, the less you can rest.

“But I’ve finally hit upon a solution – a dose of beautiful classical music just before bed.”

Clemency Burton-Hill swears by "a dose of beautiful classical music just before bed”

Clemency Burton-Hill swears by "a dose of beautiful classical music just before bed”

Burton-Hill describes the effect of listening to classical music before bed as “miraculous” for the quality of her sleep, and now she wants to help others use the genre to improve their slumber.

To this end, she has curated an exclusive playlist for Stylist.co.uk that is especially designed to aid sleep.



“The music ranges from the 16th century to the present day, by men and women of various backgrounds, from Iceland to Australia,” she says. “There are pieces of gentle piano and soothing choral, as well as chamber music and instrumental solos.”

Holding 20 songs, the playlist runs for 90 minutes, which should be enough time to help soothe your mind and set you on the path to sleep.

“Dip in, hit shuffle, or play the whole thing on repeat until it has the desired effect,” Burton-Hill advises.

Sweet dreams….

Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day by Clemency Burton-Hill, available now for £13.60 from amazon.co.uk

Images: iStock / Charlie Forgham Bailey