I have to say, I don’t actually fall asleep to music very often. I’ve tried, but for some reason I’d rather fall asleep to a podcast or an audiobook. Maybe it’s because they’re longer; I don’t have to worry about changing the song every 3 minutes if something I don’t want to listen to comes on. Or maybe it’s because podcasts and audiobooks require concentration; they don’t allow my thoughts to wander and the worrisome thoughts to set in.
In the rare event that I do use music to help me sleep, though, this is what I listen to.
1. “Hundred Ways” – Joseph
First of all, I should mention that pretty much any Joseph song is a good nighttime song. “Sweet Dreams” is an obvious choice, but “Hundred Ways” is my personal favorite. These three sisters from Portland form one of the most talented groups I’ve ever listened to, and I would recommend them to literally anyone ever. Seriously, go listen to them now. You don’t have a choice.
2. “Scars” – James Bay
I would let James Bay sing me to sleep any day, just saying. This song is sad but hopeful and also peaceful and chill and raw and it’s just great, okay? If you’ve been avoiding James Bay because you think he’s just like every other whiny white dude with a guitar and tight pants, I feel you. But just give him a chance.
3. “Down in the Valley” – The Head and the Heart
I discovered this song years ago thanks to one of those Starbucks free download cards they have by the pick-up counter. These are a hit or miss, usually a miss, but this one happened to be pretty freaking great. This is a mellow song, but when the pace picks up towards the end, I get chills every single time. Plus, it’s a song about home, and who can resist a good home song?
4. “Blue Jeans” – Lana Del Rey
Lana’s entire Born to Die album reminds me of Amsterdam. When I was abroad, I took a weekend bus trip to Amsterdam, and I have these weird vivid memories of being curled up on a coach bus late at night, driving through the city streets late at night on the way back to my hotel, listening to “Blue Jeans.” Traveling makes me anxious, but in this moment I was so at ease, so I relate this song to that feeling.
5. “Strong” – London Grammar
This is another one that brings back memories. Similar memories as “Blue Jeans,” actually. Apparently I really vibe with relaxing late at night on coach buses, because I remember listening to this song over and over on the way back from a Red Sox game, and I also listened to it pretty continuously in London when I was a scared college student in a foreign country trying to fall asleep and beat that dreaded jet lag. Hannah Reid’s voice is chilling and solemn and pretty damn flawless. Seriously, I hope this woman either has kids or is planning on having them, because she’ll have no trouble singing them to sleep in a heartbeat.
Alright, now that I’ve written this and listened to these songs, I think it’s time for bed.
To check out my Five Songs on Friday Spotify playlist, click here.