Listen Up: These Holiday Songs Could Help You Sleep

3 min read

Dec. 21, 2023 -- For peaceful rest during the holidays, listening to certain Christmas songs could help you fall asleep and maintain better sleep, according to a new analysis by Bed Kingdom, a bedroom furnishings company.

The company analyzed songs on Spotify and created an algorithm to identify the top 10 Christmas tracks most likely to help you fall asleep. The list — featuring artists such as Michael Bublé, Kelly Clarkson, and Frank Sinatra — focuses on slow, relaxing melodies that may lull listeners to sleep.

Deep sleep is always important -- especially so during the holiday hustle. Ashley Hainsworth, a spokesperson for Bed Kingdom, said the inspiration for the analysis was to "turn the joy of music into a tool for well-being, providing people with a unique and enjoyable way to incorporate relaxation into their holiday routines.”

Bed Kingdom looked at the key song characteristics of more than 300 tracks on “sleep” playlists on Spotify. They found certain metrics jumped out — low danceability, low liveness, low happiness, high acousticness, and an average beats per minute (BPM) of 94. Then, using Tunebat’s advanced song search, they applied the metrics to Christmas songs to find the top 10.

Classic artists popped up, such as Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and Nat King Cole, along with festive favorites such as Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli, and Michael Bublé and modern renditions by Ellie Goulding, Mother’s Daughter, and Kelly Clarkson. With a wide array of choices, music listeners can pick their favorites for restful sleep.

Top 10 Christmas Songs for Sleep 

  1. "The Secret of Christmas" – Mother’s Daughter, Beck Pete, Ryan James Tillema
  2. "White Christmas" – Michael Bolton
  3. "Silent Night" – Michael Bublé
  4. "Angels We Have Heard on High" – Andrea Bocelli
  5. "I’ll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)" – Frank Sinatra
  6. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" – Kelly Clarkson
  7. "O Holy Night" – Ellie Goulding
  8. "Christmas Present" – Doris Day
  9. "A Cradle in Bethlehem" – Nat King Cole
  10. "Christmas Time is in the Air Again" – Mariah Carey

“Sleep, especially in current times, is something that people are paying much more attention to because it helps the body build new cells and the mind to rest, which is necessary not only for disease management but also for wellness and resilience,” said Joanne Loewy, DA, director of The Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine and associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

At the center, Loewy and colleagues have developed a sleep protocol with music therapy, which involves creating a lullaby based on someone’s favorite song by removing the words and shifting the song’s arrangement to better induce sleep. Certain music characteristics and arrangements can help, she said, while noting the importance of personal preferences and memories as well. For instance, if someone has negative memories or stress associated with any of the Christmas songs or artists on the top 10 list, those likely won’t help with sleep, no matter how melodic.

“One of the biggest aspects we’re studying right now is addressing the connections between sleep and stress,” she said. “Especially around the holidays, we should be hibernating in dark spaces like polar bears, but instead, we’re shopping, spending and worrying about our relatives getting along. Sleep is critical.”