If you’re having trouble sleeping, music could be the cure – literally. Ask any science person worth their salt about barriers to sleep, and they’d probably tell you about a stress hormone called noradrenaline. This is something that increases “vigilance and alertness” – a good thing, in waking hours – but too much of the stuff can lead to stress. And if you’ve got too much noradrenaline floating about your system, you won’t be able to sleep.
Luckily, listening to relaxing music for 45 minutes before you go to bed has been scientifically proven to reduce your noradrenaline levels. A 2008 study by a psychologist called Laszlo Harmat found that music “significantly improved sleep quality”, and also reduced depressive symptoms significantly. Dreamy.
1Foals – ‘Moon’
What tunes do you put on to send you to sleep? We asked NME readers for music to snooze to and the response was extraordinary. Starting with Foals, ‘Moon’, suggested by NME reader Chris George (@chris__george14). It’s a glorious nugget of soporific goodness from ‘Holy Fire’.
2Tame Impala – ‘Sun’s Coming Up’
Here’s another one from the Aussie psych-rockers. Suggested by Azamat Bagatov (@ndnclds) it’s one for those dawn snoozes after a big night out.
3Blur – ‘No Distance Left To Run’
Damon’s ode to a failed relationship helps lull @Gimme__Fever off to the Land of Nod.
4Warpaint – ‘Shadows’
There’s something about this slightly warped ballad that mesmerises – maybe the woozy vocals, maybe the “I’m drunk and I’m tired” lyric, singing you to sleep by the power of suggestion alone. Put forward by nurulsyaffiqah @naiveheroine.
5Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Wedding Song (Acoustic)’
Karen O played this song about getting married, you’ve guessed it, at her wedding. It’s Janitra’s (@jxnxt) choice.
6Jeff Buckley – ‘Everybody Here Wants You’
Jeff Buckley was always capable of a different kind of hush and this posthumous single is a perfect example, soulful and smooth, caressed by delicate fills of guitar and that transcendent voice. Suggested by Bilal Abdullah @BilalAbdullah.
7The Strokes – ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’
Under the covers? Darkness? Geddit? The ‘Angles’ track is a bit frenetic but you get the idea…
8Coldplay – ‘Shiver’
@Coldplaywtf goes for this wonderful Coldplay anthem.
9Radiohead – ‘How To Disappear Completely’
“Might as well be a lullaby,” writes Joshuaaa (@CannYouDigIt) about this ‘Kid A’ track.
10PJ Harvey – ‘Is This Desire?’
The closing title track from Polly Harvey’s album ‘Is This Desire? is one of her finest works. It’s almost too good to miss in slumberland.
11Muse – ‘Exogenesis Symphony Part 3’
Arpeggiated piano that recalls Debussy’s ‘Clair De Lune’, forlorn strings and Matt Bellamy with a voice like baby’s milk sees Muse at their softest. Thanks to Risky Business (@AndrewRisky).
12Spiritualized – ‘Cool Waves’
Quite a few of your suggested Spiritualizzzzzed. Daniel Bajarlía @dBajarlia went for ‘Cool Waves’
13Oasis – ‘Married With Children’
“It gets me every time,” writes Jake Chesworth @JakeChesworth. Imagine having a song that makes you fall asleep every time you listen to it?
14Sigur Ros – ‘All Alright’
Seb Fowkes @Seb_Fowkes goes for Icelandic moodsters Sigur Ros and ‘All Alright’.
15The xx – ‘Intro’
“Just so calming,” says Alex Baumann (@fromA3toB3). He’s not wrong.
16Arctic Monkeys – ‘Cornerstone’
The second single from ‘Humbug’ was suggested by Eddie (@pr0lific). It’s a romantic ditty that’ll help you nod off.
17Tame Impala – ‘Apocalypse Dreams’
If you’re looking for psychedelic or surreal dreams, Tame Impala’s going to do it. Suggesed by Timbo (@TimSpencer13).
18The Doors – ‘Riders On The Storm’
Starting with a burst of thunder, this Doors classic from their 1971 album ‘LA Woman’ will send you into a lovely torpor.
19R.E.M. – ‘Daysleeper ‘
An anthem for insomniacs across the world, this gorgeous REM paean to circadian rhythms saw Michael Stipe at the top of his songwriting powers. Suggested by Miletić (@atjah).
20Wu Lyf – ‘Concrete Gold’
“It was broken words that she said to me / “My blood runs deep why won’t you let it bleed?” starts the tune by the Manchester band. The stuff of nightmares for some, but not for Mike Parkes (@MikeParkes).
21Sigur Ros – ‘Fjögur píanó’
“Anything by Sigur Ros sends me straight off!” writes Em (@PickUpAPerPer).
22The Velvet Underground – ‘Pale Blue Eyes’
Joby Butler (@JRyanLA) suggested ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ from The Velvet Underground’s eponymous album.
23Radiohead – ‘Kid A’
Disja Sjahreinni (@disjeah) suggests the majestic ‘Kid A’– “AKA Earpills!”.
24The Stone Roses – ‘Ten Storey Love Song’
Kez Kez (@kezkez5) goes for this stone-cold classic from The Stone Roses.
25The Smiths – ‘Asleep’
“It’s a perfect lullaby”, says Frank Ramírez (@Franz_Ramz).
26Travis – ‘Luv’
Travis, ‘Luv’ is “ACE”, says @beth_atkinson14
27Suede – ‘The Asphalt World’
This one was put forward by Carla Salvatore @CarlaSalvatore. Nine-and-a-half minutes of hypnotic psych rock that lifted ‘Dog Man Star’ to another plane entirely.
28Mazzy Star – ‘Fade Into You’
A classic of the genre. Mazzy Star are back in action now but will they ever surpass the narcotic haze of their signature tune? Suggested by Angela @AngelaPquigle.
29Pavement – ‘Here’
Tick-tocking like a clock, this uncharacteristically gentle Pavement classic is one to get the head-nodding, with a murmured singalong chorus to burrow into your dreams. Suggested by Izaak @Baxendale96.
30Arctic Monkeys – ‘Mad Sounds’
Don’t be fooled by the title, it’s a slow soft side of them,” writes @J0HNNIVAN.
31Airborne Toxic Event – ‘Sometime Around Midnight’
The LA band were actually talking about getting pissed in a bar but if you’re going to get eight hours sleep, it’s advice worth hitting.
32The xx – ‘Night Time’
“Do I still need to tell why?” asks Syed Aidil (@iamskalo). Pretty self-explanatory.
33The Cure – ‘Lullaby’
Jeff K (@jeffknet) suggests this Cure classic with the questionably relaxing lyrics: “And there is nothing I can do when I realize with fright/That the Spiderman is having me for dinner tonight.” Sweet dreams.
34Talk Talk – ‘Spirit Of Eden’
“The whole album,” says Greg Breedlove @gbreedlove. “Beautiful songs, and out like a light halfway through.”
35R.E.M. – ‘Nightswimming’
A few of you suggested the sublime REM anthem, including @what_jim_said.
36Purity Ring – ‘Fineshrine’
Carl Jones (@carlstfc) suggested this electro-pop track from Canada’s finest.
37Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Push The Sky Away’
The closing track of Cave’s latest album has an almost church-like, meditative feel, organ meandering behind Cave’s whispered exhortations to keep on keeping on. Suggested by Nathan Twomey @NateTwomey.
38My Bloody Valentine – ‘Instrumental B’
Quite a few of you suggested this instrumental track from MBV’s debut album.
39Bob Dylan – ‘Girl From The North Country’
From ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’, this is Dylan at his sweetest, weaving a gorgeous melody around swift-picked guitar and a tender, lovelorn lyric. A favourite of Baran Zoral @baranzoral.
40Air – ‘You Make It Easy’
Air’s pacific sounds were going to be on here somewhere. Thanks to Kellie S @shutthekellup for the suggestion.
41Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’
Soothing chimes and a looping melody – and that suggestive title – create a dream sequence to fall into. “Makes me nod off every time,” says Emily Hardy @hardy_ha_har.
42Bon Iver – ‘Beth/Rest’
The final track on an album stuffed with gentle melodies is a cushiony FM rock ballad that strokes your fevered brow with slide guitar, electric piano and the first acceptable blast of saxophone since Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Baker Street’. This one from renee @Renchelski.
43Michael Learns To Rock – ‘Sleeping Child’
“The Milky Way upon the heavens/Is twinkling just for you/And Mr. Moon/he came by To say goodnight to you,” sings the Danish band. It’s a good song to pass out to. Thanks to Arfiana Rahma (@3fiarahma) for the suggestion.
44Elbow – ‘Asleep In The Back’
The title track of Elbow’s debut album is soft and romantic like all the best Guy Garvey compositions, a bruised lullaby. Suggested by Phil Buckingham @PhilEB1.
45George Harrison – ‘All Things Must Pass’
With the beautiful lyrics, “Now the darkness only stays the night-time/In the morning it will fade away/Daylight is good at arriving at the right time/It’s not always going to be this grey,” George Harrison’s got the twilight vibe down to a T. Suggest by PNLT @PNLTofficial
46Mamas & The Papas – ‘California Dreaming’
Walking around on a winter’s day dreaming of the sun in California… we’ve all been there. This hazy reminiscence that lurches into a strange spiritual experience was suggested by Angel McLachlan (@Angel_McLachlan).
47Grizzly Bear – ‘Foreground’
When it’s time to hit the sack, Joe Morphet (@JoeMorphet) goes for this gorgeous ditty from 2009’ s ‘Veckatimest’.
48Massive Attack – ‘Teardrop’
The captivating video set in the womb was the perfect rendering of this floating, embracing song, with Liz Fraser swooping and cooing to send you to slumber. Suggested by Wazza# @wangerthabanger.
49This Mortal Coil – Song To The Siren
This 4AD Gothic pop group’s cover of Tim Buckley will help you zone out.
50Airhead – ‘Counting Sheep’
Javier Gancedo (@ganchetto) suggests this classic by the British indie-pop band continuing the nocturnal vibe. I’m sure you’ll agree the album artwork is pretty special.