Have you ever wondered what attracts you to a song? Is it the music, the lyrics, or a combination of both?
I have found that the words of a song pull me towards it the most. Perhaps because songs are a great insight into the minds of their writers. By paying attention to its lyrics, I can relate to the message that an artist aims to convey through their song. Most songwriters write about things that matter to them the most. These include love, friendship, heartbreak. But have you noticed another very common theme in songs? It’s sleep!
This shows that sleep is intrinsic to human beings. It isn’t just a peripheral bodily function. It holds a much deeper emotional significance in our lives. Sleep is associated with happiness and sorrow alike. You spend sleepless nights when you are in love but also when you’re depressed or anxious.
Thus, it is no mystery that many artists feel inclined to pen down lyrics about sleep or the lack thereof.
To find out how sleep captures the imagination of songwriters, you can listen to the following songs with the word ‘sleep’ in their title.
#1 Sleep on the Floor by The Lumineers
Sleep on the Floor is one of the best songs from the second studio album of the American folk-rock band The Lumineers. The song is a blend of captivating music and lyrics. The video of the song is as alluring as the song itself. Ironically, the song itself doesn’t contain the word ‘sleep’ in it. The song is about two lovers leaving behind everything to start their lives together. The song successfully conveys the warm feeling of new love.
#2 Keeping Me From Sleep Tonight by Taba Chake
Taba Chake is an indie singer-songwriter, who hails from the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. His song Keeping Me From Sleep Tonight is a peppy number. As the title suggests, the song is about what keeps the singer from sleep. It describes how even though he makes a conscious effort, the singer’s inner voice doesn’t allow him to slip into slumber.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
#3 The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens
The Lion Sleeps Tonight is very famous in pop culture, and you are bound to find references to it in numerous movies and TV shows. You may recognize it as the favorite song of Ross’s monkey Marcel from the famous sitcom Friends. It is also used in the movie The Lion King. Solomon Linda originally wrote the song in the African language, Zulu. It was later adapted and covered by various artists. However, The Tokens’ rendition of it is the most popular.
It is possibly impossible not to start singing A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh the minute you hear it.
#4 Sleep Talking by Charlotte Lawrence
Sleep Talking is a catchy pop song performed by the American singer Charlotte Lawrence. The song is fun and upbeat. The lyrics, however, have the opposite connotation. The song narrates how the singer finds out about her partner’s infidelity when they start talking in their sleep.
So be warned, your subconscious mind may reveal all your secrets at night.
#5 How do you Sleep? by Sam Smith
The British singer Sam Smith released the single How Do You Sleep? in 2019. Rolling Stone described the song as a “pop ballad”. While the music in the song is cheery, the lyrics are about the frustration of moving on from heartbreak. The song conveys mixed feelings of trying to get over someone. It really strikes a chord when Sam Smith laments, “How do you sleep when you lie to me”.
#6 Sing Me to Sleep by Alan Walker
Alan Walker is a Norwegian record producer and DJ famous for his song ‘Faded’. Sing Me To Sleep is also of the electro house genre. Unlike the usual electro-music, Sing Me To Sleep also has captivating lyrics along with incredible music. The music video for the song was shot in Hong Kong and cameos the artist from the video of ‘Faded’.
#7 Wait for Sleep by Dream Theatre
Wait for Sleep is from the second album by American progressive metal band, Dream Theatre. The ballad contains only piano and vocals, a deviation from Dream Theatre’s typical sound. The song has a dark and somber tone, which also is unlike Dream Theatre’s usual style. The song is about a woman and how sleep evades her.
#8 I Go To Sleep by Sia
I Go To Sleep was first released by the British group Applejacks. However, it has been covered by various artists over the years, including Preggy Lee and Cher. However, it is Sia’s version which I like the best. The slower tempo with the use of the piano, combined with the words of the song, makes it a wistful ballad. Sia’s version of the song was also featured in the soundtrack of the Australian TV series ‘Packed to the Rafters’.
Need a slow song to help you sleep? This song is here for you.
#9 Go to Sleep by Radiohead
Go to Sleep was performed by the famous British rock band Radiohead. The song received critical acclaim in the UK, Canada, Italy, etc. The chorus of the song has the words, “I’m gonna go to sleep, let this wash all over me”, describing the use of sleep as an escape from the world around us. A feeling that many of us are familiar with.
The lyrics of the song have long been debated for it has many possible interpretations. Listen to the song to discover your interpretation of the song.
#10 Sleep Is a Rose by Rhodes
Rhodes is the stage name of David Rhodes, a British singer. Sleep Is a Rose is a beautiful song. Its dreamlike melody and poetic lyrics make is an absolute pleasure to listen to. The singer has stated that this song came to him while he was lying awake and thinking at night. He even recorded it that same night to capture the initial spark and the night time mood.
Who knew overthinking at night could have such positive results.
#11 Can’t Sleep Love by Pentatonix
Pentatonix is an American acapella group and the song Can’t Sleep Love is from their fourth album. The acapella format gives this song a fun vibe. The song describes the feeling of longing for a kind of love that takes away your sleep. The music video also maintains the upbeat nature of the song.
#12 Sleep On It by Gallant
Christopher Joseph Gallant III or Gallant is an American singer-songwriter. The song Sleep On It was released in 2019 as part of his album Sweet Insomnia. The music of this song is inspired by R&B ballads of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The song describes a lover’s quarrel and their subsequent truce.
These songs show how sleep is entangled with different aspects of our lives. It evokes deep emotions in all kinds of situations. That is why songs about sleep have existed since time immemorial. Songs about sleep are clearly wonderful and I hope they continue to be made, for all time to come.
What are your favorite songs about sleeping?
Some of my favourite songs about sleeping are, I’m Only Sleeping by The Beatles, Sleeping Sun by Coldplay, I Go To Sleep by Sia, Sleep Talking by Charlotte Lawrence, Sleep by My Chemical Romance, and Sleep by Joseph & Maia.
What is the best music to hear at night to sleep?
Certain kinds of music have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Some believe that the binaural beats technique can help improve sleep. In this technique, two different frequencies are played to a person at the same time. This technique triggers a slow-down to brainwave activity—and that may help you relax, lower your anxiety, and can make it easier for you to fall asleep and sleep more soundly.
Other music to help improve sleep is a song by the English trio known as Marconi Union. They collaborated with the British Academy of Sound Therapy to create an 8-minute instrumental track called ‘Weightless’, which aims to lull the listener into relaxation through proven heart-rate-lowering sounds and tempos (beginning at 60 bpm, and slowing to 50 bpm by the end).
What are some of the best songs to listen to before you go to sleep?
Some of my favourite songs to listen to before sleep are, Clementine by Halsey, come out and play by Billie Eilish, When the party’s over by Billie Eilish, Donna by the Lumineers, Jolene by LaMontagne, Top To Toe by Fenne Lily and Easily by Bruno Major.
Written by Tuhina Sahai.
Tuhina Sahai is a law student studying at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She enjoys meeting new people and making friends. She finds as much comfort in going on outdoor adventures as she does in sitting in her room with a book, sipping tea. She is an avid reader and enjoys the works of authors John Grisham, Khaled Hosseini, Paulo Coelho, Arundhati Roy, etc. She is passionate about music and art.
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