Hear, hear: Ed Sheeran's music lulls Britons to sleep


Sleep advisers often say jazz, classical and folk are the most rewarding genres for those in search of sleep, suggesting that Ed Sheeran might be an unusual choice.
Sleep advisers often say jazz, classical and folk are the most rewarding genres for those in search of sleep, suggesting that Ed Sheeran might be an unusual choice.PHOTO: AEG PRESENTS

LONDON (GUARDIAN) - Ed Sheeran is the singer most likely to send Britons to sleep.

A new study by researchers at the University of Sheffield, published in the open-access journal Plos One, sought to discover how people use music to help them get to sleep.

Of the 651 respondents, 62 per cent reported listening to music to drop off, claiming they believed that it stimulated sleep and allowed them to shut out external distractions.

It also revealed a diverse range of choices, with respondents citing 545 artists from 14 genres, with Sheeran one of the most often referenced, along with Bach, Mozart, Brian Eno, Coldplay and Chopin.

The physiological and psychological effects of music in lulling people to sleep is not wholly understood, although experts know it works on the parasympathetic nervous system and can lower heart and respiration rates, as well as blood pressure.

For those wishing to take up music as a sleep aid, it can take around three weeks to achieve its full effect.

The Sleep Foundation, a United States organisation that promotes understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, also recommends choosing a style of music that is familiar to you, and preferably one that is relatively slow - around 60 to 80 beats a minute.

 
 

Sleep advisers often say jazz, classical and folk are the most rewarding genres for those in search of sleep, suggesting that Sheeran might be an unusual choice.

But the Sheffield study is not the first time he has been said to be conducive to slumber.

When streaming service Spotify analysed its users' Sleep playlists, it found Sheeran was the most commonly chosen artist, although this is probably down to his ubiquity rather than some hitherto unexplored somnolent quality in his music.

In fact, his three most popular tracks on Spotify all hover slightly above the ideal bpm rate for sleep.

Perfect comes in at 95bpm, Shape Of You at 96bpm and Happier at 90bpm.