There's nothing better than drifting off to sleep while listening to relaxing music, especially if you're sleep deprived or have had an unusually taxing day.
Whether you are drawn to ambient sounds, jazz, rock, or pop, there is something for everyone on this list of 15 top songs to fall asleep to.
"#3" by Aphex Twin
I like to drift off to this song at nap time because it makes me feel like a petal, buoyantly floating in the wind over a grassy, green field. This Aphex Twin song is exceedingly dreamy.
After all, the album it’s on, Selected Ambient Works Volume II, is a soundtrack to producer Richard D. James’ lucid dreams. Each time he had a lucid dream, James would get up and attempt to recreate the dream’s microtonal soundscape. This is probably the closest some of us will get to figuring out what lucid dreaming is and how to do it.
"All of Me" by John Legend
“All of Me” has been one of the most popular songs to fall asleep to since its release in 2013. This song, in particular, has been played over a billion times on YouTube, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because John Legend’s soulful singing and crisp piano playing is both magnetic and hypnotizing.
"Beached" by Julianna Barwick
Julianna Barwick is one talented woman, and “Beached” is just one example of her relaxing music. Her soothing, breathy vocals and ethereal synths looped into an atmospheric song will take you up and away to a dream world.
"Because" by The Beatles
Who knew that an electric harpsichord could be so soothing? With that said, this song from Abbey Road might not have such a strong relaxation effect if the harpsichord weren’t accompanied by harmonious Beatles voices.
You can listen to the remastered version of “Because” on Spotify and Amazon.
"Blue in Green" by Miles Davis
Miles Davis is absolutely an artist you should have on your jazz playlist, and after a listen to “Blue in Green,” you'll see why. This is a song that can sweep anybody into a hazy, dream world whenever they need to decompress before hitting the sack. The piano and saxophone work the slow, jazzy tempo so harmoniously that it sends the mind floating alongside the smooth nuances deep into the ethers of a sound sleep.
"Emerald and Stone" by Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Leo Abrahams
If you like to fall asleep to ambient music, you’ll love falling asleep to “Emerald and Stone.” The ethereal track is part of Small Craft on a Milk Sea, a collaborative album by ambient pioneers Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, and Leo Abrahams.
In just about two minutes, “Emerald and Stone’s” sweet piano notes and subtle cosmic sounds will take your mind on a short journey through the cosmos.
"Fix You" by Coldplay
This list would be incomplete without “Fix You” by Coldplay making an appearance; it’s been considered one of the best songs to fall asleep to since its release more than ten years ago (2005). I, for one, have kept it on my sleep playlist for the last decade because it can put me to sleep within seconds.
"Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven
If you like falling asleep to “Because," then you should try to fall asleep to the song that inspired it.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” is a great tune to send yourself spiraling into sweet dreams.
"No Surprises" by Radiohead
Falling asleep to this song is a beautiful experience. From the elegant riff that plays consistently throughout to the soothing harmonies toward the end.
Maybe the fact that Radiohead wrote this song while touring with R.E.M. (as in rapid eye movement—get it?) is what makes this song such an excellent song to listen to as you fall asleep.
"A Pillow Of Winds" by Pink Floyd
Many people have an easier time falling asleep if they visualize the drift away from consciousness. If that’s the case for you, this song could be the answer to your sleep deprivation.
“A Pillow of Winds” by Pink Floyd is a fantastic song from beautifully crafted 1971 album, Meddle. The song’s dreamy arpeggios are accompanied by soothing vocals and lyrical imagery that will boost the comfort of your bed before guiding you to peaceful and sound sleep. You'll be dreaming of a pink elephant in the room in no time.
"Second Sun" by Bonobo
Close your eyes to this instrumental track from Bonobo’s 2017 album Migration, and you’ll be in a deep state of relaxation within moments.
"Secrets" by Alice Smith
Alice Smith’s music is usually pretty upbeat; but, luckily for those of us who are especially sleep deprived, she included this mellow track in her 2006 album, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me.
Smith’s voice is so angelic that it could make anyone fall asleep, and it sounds even more phenomenal when stacked on top of the relaxing rhythm and blues music in “Secrets.”
Listening to the lyrics in this slow rhythm and blues track will help you decompress when you’re feeling particularly melancholy.
"Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran
I would be remiss if I didn’t include Ed Sheeran somewhere on this list. Back in 2015, Spotify analyzed nearly three million sleep playlists on their platform and discovered that Sheeran was the most popular musician to listen to while falling asleep, taking up almost half of the spots in the top-20 sleepy songs.
"Underneath the Weeping Willow" by Grandaddy
This song from the Grandaddy's 2000 album, The Sophtware Slump, is the lullaby your real granddaddy never sang to you—but should have!
The lyrics in “Underneath the Weeping Willow” are perfect for falling asleep. The sound of Jason Lytle’s husky and mellow voice, sprinkled with high pitched piano notes, is remarkable and perfect for inducing sleep when you’re in desperate need of some shuteye!
"I Wish I Knew" by Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten’s voice is perfect for riding into a phase of rapid eye movement. In “I Wish I Knew,” from her 2017 album (It Was) Because I Was in Love, Etten’s weightless choral voice gracefully rolls around from octave to octave, and is supported by consistent, but minimal, bluesy rhythm and acoustic guitar. Sharon van Etten certainly knows how to make relaxing music!
"Weightless" (Extended Version) by Marconi Union
If you’re like me and get jolted awake at the onset of silence, you probably don’t bother listening to anything shorter then ten minutes, unless you’re severely sleep deprived. Backed by science as being one of the most relaxing song ever made, “Weightless” by Marconi Union is a sleeping classic—a masterpiece.
The relaxing effect of “Weightless" wasn’t an accident; Marconi Union collaborated with experts at the British Academy of Sound Therapy to produce this innovative ambient symphony of guitar, piano, and field recordings.
That’s right—“Weightless” by Marconi Union is like Ambien for the ears.