Best Music to Listen to in the Morning
Music is best known as a form of entertainment, but its benefits extend greatly beyond amusement. For years, researchers have been studying the effects of music on our brains, moods, memories, stress and so much more.
Studies have helped pinpoint how music therapy can bring comfort, release and enjoyment—and how listening to music in the morning can have positive effects on your mood for the remainder of the day.
What type of music you should listen to in the morning depends on how you want your morning to feel. Start with knowing and understanding how certain types of music affect you and what music will help you concentrate, feel relaxed, motivated, happy or sad.
How Music Affects Your Mood
Have you ever been listening to the radio and heard a song that brought back happy memories and a sentimental feeling that instantly made you feel joyful? This is a prime example of how music can affect our moods.
Music is already being used to help people with dementia, the elderly and people suffering from depression. The relationship between music and the brain, memories and your mood is very powerful, and researchers are learning how this relationship works for therapeutic benefits.
When music enters your brain, it triggers the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter.
“Music seems to ‘selectively activate’ neurochemical systems and brain structures associated with positive mood, emotion regulation, attention and memory in ways that promote beneficial changes,” says Kim Innes, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University’s School of Public Health.
Our brains are always searching for the next bit of information they need to process. Because of this, we often receive early dopamine rushes when a familiar song starts, and as we anticipate our favorite part of the song.
Alternatively, studies have shown that listening to the wrong music can induce stress and bolster negative emotions.
The rhythm and characteristics of a song can affect your heart rate and your brain’s neural network. Similarly to how a slow tempo song can calm you and slow down your heart rate, an upbeat and fast rhythm song can have the opposite effect. This explains why many people choose upbeat songs while exercising. As you can tell, it’s essential to understand how specific music makes you feel.
Best Music for Focusing
Many people prefer to listen to music while studying but often can find it difficult to concentrate. If you’re looking for the perfect morning playlist to help you focus, try listening to music with a consistent beat and a steady, repetitive pulse.
Researchers suggest intelligent dance music, solo piano tracks and alpha wave music to help put you in the zone.
It’s not uncommon for people to believe that listening to classical music will help them concentrate better. This is because the study that was initially done to understand the effects of music on concentration was completed with classical music—also known as the Mozart Effect.
Researchers completed another study, called the Blur Effect, and found that listening to music that you actually enjoy helps you focus better. Try listening to whatever music is on your phone, or an instrumental version that plays popular songs you enjoy.
Music for Relaxing
If you often feel anxious or stressed when you wake up, try listening to music throughout the morning. Create a morning playlist that will slow your heartbeat and lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Studies have shown that a slower tempo can help relax your muscles, ease your mind and release stress.
If you have an ear for music, listen to songs that have around 60 beats per minute. This can cause your brain to become synchronized with the beat, causing alpha brain waves, which boost creativity and reduce depression.
Celtic, Native American, Indian stringed-instruments, drums and flutes have been known to be effective at relaxing the mind. Additionally, soft sounds of rain, thunder and nature can be soothing, particularly when combined with other music, such as light jazz and easy listening tunes.
Music for Motivation
Do you need music to help you get motivated for the day or to help keep you charged at the gym in the morning? You’re not alone. Your body tends to naturally synchronize its movements to the rhythm of the music in your ears.
If you’re hoping to get your blood pumping and your muscles moving quickly, listen to something upbeat and with a faster tempo.
Create a morning playlist of your favorite dance hits, such as Imagine Dragons’ “Whatever It Takes” or Pharrel’s “Happy” to help keep your stamina going for longer periods. If pop music doesn’t motivate you, consider hip hop or heavy metal. Picking music you enjoy will help elevate your mood and keep you motivated longer.
Music for Boosting Mood
If you need a little emotional boost in the morning, try matching the music with the mood you want to have.
Listening to familiar sing-alongs can remind you of happy times and give you that dopamine surge to lift your mood.
Studies completed by Dr. David Greenberg of Cambridge University suggests that the ideal wake-up song should start with a brief, gentle tempo, and then build up to a more energetic beat. Also, choosing a song with positive lyrics can help you shift to a feel-good attitude. Consider listening to Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” or “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.
Create Your Morning Playlist
No matter your preference in music, create a playlist that makes you feel good, energetic and happy. Listening to music in the morning can help you achieve your goals, start your day off positively and maintain that feel-good vibe for the rest of the day.
If possible, create a playlist for different activities, such as working out, studying, relaxing or being creative. You’ll be amazed at the positive effects these morning playlists can have on your relationships, your work and your overall mood.