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The best music artists to fall asleep to

27 Feb | news | BY Betway Insider | MIN READ TIME |
The best music artists to fall asleep to

Need help drifting off? Betway’s new experiment reveals the best music artists to listen to for the perfect night’s sleep.

Searching for some new songs for your sleep playlist? We’ve got you covered.

There’s a lot that can get in the way of a good night’s sleep, from the sound of traffic outside to a snoring partner. As a result, a lot of us turn to tried-and-tested methods to help us fall asleep — including listening to music with a 2023 study finding that it can even reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality.

With so much evidence that music is a fantastic sleep aid, online slots site Betway wanted to go one step further and find out exactly what kind is the most effective. We carried out an experiment asking people to listen to music by different popular artists while they sleep, revealing once and for all which singers offer the most soothing bedtime experience.

The top 10 music artists to sing you to sleep

To start with, we scraped 1,000 sleep playlists on Spotify, made up of 14,542 artists and 43,981 songs. We then took the top 20 artists featured in these playlists with at least one Billboard Hot 100 hit at any point in time, asking a group of participants to track how well they slept when listening to each one.

We also asked them to record how well they slept when not listening to music in order to reveal just how beneficial listening to certain artists can be for helping us to get a quality night’s sleep.

The metrics we measured to determine sleep quality included:

●    Sleep quality percentage score

●    Time spent asleep

●    Time spent in deep sleep

●    Time spent awake

●    Average heart rates when listening to each artist throughout the night.

Bored of counting sheep? Try listening to these songbirds instead.

1. Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers, known for her indie folk sound and soft vocals, tops the list as the queen of peaceful sleep.

Participants recorded an average sleep quality of 82 out of 100 after listening to her music through the night, spending approximately 7 hours and 39 minutes asleep. They also spent a solid 1 hour and 28 minutes in deep sleep, which is crucial for the body and brain to recharge and revitalise.

On top of that, Phoebe’s dulcet tones led to a very relaxed average heart rate of 59 beats per minute (BPM), which is the lowest on the list.

Her most popular song on sleep playlists is ‘Scott Street’, which features in 12 of the playlists we looked at. It has a BPM of 135, which is on the higher side, but the mellow acoustic guitar and steady drum beats are clearly a winning combination for a peaceful slumber.

2. Lana Del Rey

In second place on the sleepy spectrum is Lana Del Rey. Listeners lulled by Lana’s dreamy sounds drifted off with an impressive sleep quality score of 86 (the highest on the list), averaging a luxurious 7 hours and 49 minutes of shut-eye. A precious 1 hour and 21 minutes of that were spent in the restorative deep sleep stage — that’s 17% of their total sleep time.

Lana’s music also has a calming effect on the heart, with listeners averaging a relaxed 64 beats per minute.

If you’re looking for specific lullabies, ‘Happiness is a Butterfly’ (70 BPM) and ‘Cinnamon Girl’ (92 BPM) are the most popular choices on sleep playlists, both appearing in 10 of those we analysed.

3. Billie Eilish

Another soft-voiced songstress, Billie Eilish, comes in third. Participants reported an average sleep quality score of 83 while listening to her music, alongside a relaxed heart rate of 63 BPM.

The ethereal quality of her vocals and dreamlike atmosphere of her music create the perfect recipe for a restful sleep. Her recent hit “What Was I Made For?” won Song of the Year at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, but it’s a different song that wins on sleep playlists: ‘lovely’ (with Khalid) features in 19 of them.

It might seem a tad upbeat at 115 BPM, but its melancholic melody and honeyed harmonies create a surprisingly hypnotic trance.

4. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift topped Spotify charts in 2023 as the most streamed artist, with more than 26.1 billion streams worldwide. While she didn’t quite come out on top in our ranking, she has managed to make the top five as the fourth best artist to fall asleep to.

Along with a sleep quality score of 82, participants who listened to Taylor’s tunes spent an average of just over eight hours asleep. That’s longer than for any other artist — so if you’re looking to maximise your time in bed, it might be worth trying out a Swift soundtrack.

Her slow-paced song ‘this is me trying’ is a winner on sleep playlists, turning up in 15 of those we looked at. Wikipedia describes it as “dream pop” featuring a “yawning” organ, so it’s got blissful snoozing written all over it.

5. Harry Styles

Pop sensation Harry Styles comes in fifth, soothing listeners into a slumber of 7 hours and 42 minutes on average.

While many of his most popular tracks are a bit too fast-paced to be considered relaxing (like ‘As It Was’, which has an upbeat BPM of 174), his discography also features plenty more sleep-inducing songs.

Watermelon Sugar’ and ‘Adore You’ — two of his most streamed tunes — have a BPM under 100. Interestingly, ‘Fine Line’ is the song of choice on sleep playlists, despite its faster BPM of 121. It’s brimming with gentle acoustic guitar and reverb, as well as repeating melodies that act just like a soothing lullaby.

6. Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco’s signature lazy sound makes him an ideal artist for bedtime listening. Participants reported an average sleep quality score of 80 after falling asleep to his music. This is the lowest on the list so far, but still an excellent score.

His song ‘Heart To Heart’ makes an appearance in 16 of the sleep playlists we analysed. Although it has one of the fastest tempos at 150 BPM, its relaxed atmosphere and stripped-back sound are perfect for a snooze.

7. Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran has tried his hand at many genres over the years, from folk to rock to rhythm and blues. One genre he seems to have perfected is sleep music, with his songs leading listeners to achieve an average sleep quality score of 81.

He’s a big fan of acoustic guitar and poetic lyrics, which are great for creating a state of relaxation. ‘Happier’ is a perfect example of this, featuring in nine sleep playlists thanks to its sweet, soothing sound.

8. Mac Miller

Mac Miller left his mark on the music world with an impressive repertoire of pleasantly mellow songs — perfect for falling asleep to. Towards the end of his career, his music incorporated elements of jazz, which has been linked to health benefits like reduced stress, improved mental wellness and better sleep.

Listeners who slept to his music had an average heart rate of 59 BPM, which is the joint lowest on the list alongside Phoebe Bridgers. In fact, one participant’s heart rate dropped as low as 51 BPM while listening to his music, proving the power of his songs for ultimate relaxation.

9. Frank Ocean

American singer, songwriter, and rapper Frank Ocean takes the ninth spot on the list, with his music leading to an average sleep quality score of 79 and heart rate of 62 BPM.

His song ‘White Ferrari’ features in nine of the playlists we looked at. With a BPM of 109 and beautifully layered vocals, it’s a shining example of both his musical talent and knack for sending us straight to sleep (which we mean as a compliment in this context).

10. V

V rose to fame as a member of Korean group BTS, and is particularly well-known for his deep, baritone voice. His low tones are a fantastic sleep aid, helping listeners enjoy a tranquil 7 hours 33 minutes of snoozing on average.

His most streamed songs on Spotify have an average BPM of 107, which creates a soothing rhythm perfect for drifting off into a peaceful slumber.

How does not listening to music compare to falling asleep to the artists in the study?

Asking participants to record how well they slept when not listening to any music, the study revealed that they spent 1 hour and 18 minutes awake in the night on average (compared to 1 hour 11 on average across the artists in the study). When not listening to music, participants spent 27 minutes more awake than when listening to Lana Del Rey and Hozier (51 minutes spent awake on average).

Without listening to music, participants spent 7 hours and 37 minutes asleep, which is 24 minutes less than the average sleep time when participants listened to Taylor Swift (8 hours and 1 minute).

Participants also recorded an average heart rate of 67 BPM when not listening to music throughout the night, which is the second highest in the study, joint with Zach Bryan and one behind Cigarettes after Sex and Taylor Swift (68 average BPM).

Overall, the five metrics we analysed led to the participants sleep quality when not listening to music scoring 4.4 out of 10, which is a lower score than the majority of artists tested in the experiment, save Lil Peep, Juice WRLD, Cigarettes After Sex, Enya, Mitski and BTS.

Top trending tracks in Spotify sleep playlists

By far the most popular song on Spotify’s sleep playlists by a Billboard Hot 100 artist is ‘Love Me Again’ by V. The soothing R&B track has lulled thousands of listeners into a state of relaxation, featuring in 62 of the playlists we analysed.

Its peaceful tempo of 74 BPM is among the slowest on the list — which may contribute to its popularity, as slow, steady rhythms tell our bodies that it’s time to rest.

In second place is ‘Apocalypse’ by Cigarettes After Sex, which appeared in 39 sleep playlists and has a temp of 94 BPM. That’s followed by ‘lovely’ by Billie Eilish (19 playlists), ‘Heart To Heart’ by Mac Demarco (16) and ‘this is me trying’ by Taylor Swift (15).

We found that the majority of the most popular songs to feature in sleep playlists have a BPM between 70 and 130. This overlaps with the average resting heart rate of healthy adults, which falls between 60-100 BPM.

Our study shows that listening to music can actually be more beneficial for sleep than not listening to music, however it can depend on the artists you have on your playlists. What are your favourite tracks to listen to when drifting off?

Methodology & Sources

We carried out an experiment to reveal which music artists are the best for sleep.

Using Spotify’s API, we scraped 1,000 sleep playlists, pulling out the artists that have secured a song in the Billboard 100 list at any point in time to use as the seedlist of artists for our experiment.

The top 20 we used in the experiment are:

  1. Taylor Swift

  2. Cigarettes After Sex

  3. V

  4. Billie Eilish

  5. Lana Del Rey

  6. Zach Bryan

  7. Mac DeMarco

  8. Drake

  9. BTS

  10. Enya

  11. Juice WRLD

  12. Frank Ocean

  13. Mac Miller

  14. Phoebe Bridgers

  15. Lil Peep

  16. Harry Styles

  17. Ed Sheeran

  18. Hozier

  19. Sleeping With Sirens

  20. Mitski

    We then asked participants to listen to each artist while sleeping. Each participant also wore a heart rate monitor to bed, which allowed us to measure:

●    Sleep quality

●    Time spent asleep

●    Time spent in deep sleep

●    Time spent awake

●    Average heart rate

Based on average scores across these metrics, we awarded each artist an overall sleep score to reveal which are the best to fall asleep to.

Betway Insider

Betway Insider

The Insider is an editorial blog for Betway, one of the best betting sites, featuring sporting insight, intelligent comment and informed betting tips for football betting and all other major sports.

Betway Insider

Betway Insider

The Insider is an editorial blog for Betway, one of the best betting sites, featuring sporting insight, intelligent comment and informed betting tips for football betting and all other major sports.