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A Dreamy Dozen: 12 Classical Works to Help You Fall Asleep Faster

woman with headphones listening to classical music graphic

woman with headphones listening to classical music graphic

If you have ever attended a classical music concert, you likely have noticed that at some point during a soft and slow passage, people start falling asleep — and that is while sitting upright in an uncomfortable chair wearing formal clothing. 

With the right music, even the most restless insomniac may find the respite they are seeking: a good night's sleep replete with sweet dreams.

Listed below are 12 classical works of music that we call our "Dreamy Dozen" and are designed to draw you into dreamland and fall asleep faster.

12 Classics to Help you Fall Asleep Faster

  1. Lullaby (by Johannes Brahms) is perhaps the most famous classical piece that mothers have used since its composition to rock their sweet babies to sleep. Since everyone wants to sleep like babies, what better work to put on your nighttime playlist as your first selection, however, be forewarned that this mesmerizing melody may do the trick in getting you fast asleep, thus keeping you from hearing your remaining choices. Approx. 3 minutes.
  2. Clair de Lune (by Claude Debussy) is another famous work recognized through its regular use in movies when a meditative or peaceful scene is portrayed. Both solo piano and orchestral versions are delightful and relaxing; both are also equally effective in helping you paint abstract and colorful images in your mind as the music weaves in and out of your imagination and guides you to the door of your dreams. Approx. 5 minutes.
  3. Moonlight Sonata (No. 14 in C-sharp minor), 1st movement (by Ludwig van Beethoven) is perhaps his best-known piano sonata (out of a total of 32 sonatas). The first movement is unusual because it employs a slow tempo (adagio sustenato); most piano sonatas are comprised of three movements, with the first movement typically in a fast and lively tempo. Although Beethoven had a reputation for fiery moods, he also could plumb the depths of his heart and create truly stirring and peaceful works. Approx. 7 minutes.
  4. The Four Seasons, Spring, 2nd movement (by Antonio Vivaldi) ideally portrays the warming and luxurious spring evenings, allowing you to picture gentle cooling breezes caressing your face as the sun slowly and softly settles for the night, inviting a bright and silent moon to light your dreams. Using a very slow tempo (largo), this work composed for a string orchestra will carry you away with its soothing and flowing rhythms. Approx. 3 minutes.
  5. Solveig's Lullaby (from Peer Gynt) (by Edvard Grieg) is the closing movement to this famous and stirring suite of works from his opera, Peer Gynt. This celebrated Norwegian composer was known for creating some of the most melodic music to grace a concert stage. As Grieg was also an avid pianist, you can find three versions of this beautiful work: solo piano, orchestral, or orchestra with a soprano. All of them of equally calming and serene and ideal for a nighttime collection. Approx. 4 minutes.
  6. Piano Concerto #21 in C, 2nd movement (by Wolfgang Mozart) was made famous by its inclusion in Elvira Madigan, a Swedish artistic film that tells the tragic love story of a circus tightrope walker who meets a young soldier. The 2nd movement of this piece is played in an andante tempo (majestically slow), featuring a solo piano with a supporting orchestra interacting in the background; such a combination is perfect for luxuriating in the depth and warmth of the melody. Approx. 6 minutes.
  7. Valse Serenade (2nd movement) from Serenade for Strings (by Pyotr Tchaikovsky) will have you softly swaying in bed as this waltz-like 2nd movement (featuring a string orchestra) will weave its gentle melody throughout your mind. Very peaceful, rhythmic, and romantic: ideal for preparing for sweet dreams. Approx. 4 minutes.
  8. Serenade for Winds, Cello, and Bass, 3rd movement (by Antonin Dvořák) is a lesser-known work by a Czech composer famed for his sweeping melodic creations. This chamber work employs two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, three horns, a contrabassoon, a cello, and a bass. Known for his flair in composing for wind instruments, this movement perfectly captures the intimacy and gentility of the ensemble as it proceeds slowly and stately. Approx. 8 minutes
  9. Pavane for a Dead Princess (by Maurice Ravel) may sound like it must be a mournful dirge that will have your tears pouring out faster and stronger than a faucet on full blast. Still, this work is a remarkably peaceable and thoughtful piece that is performed either by an orchestra or on solo piano. Its slow tempo does match the pace of a funeral procession, but it remains a memorably haunting and straightforward melody that paints tender thoughts within. Approx. 6 minutes
  10. Lullaby (by George Gershwin) was composed for piano (as were most of his works) and later transposed for orchestra (and both versions are magical in their rights). While Gershwin was famed for his jazz and Broadway compositions, he also ventured into the classical arena with several works. This standalone piece perfectly captures the sleepy mood of America in the early 20th century and will serve you well in your quest for a restful night. Approx. 8 minutes
  11. Nocturne from Carmen Suite #2 (by Georges Bizet) is from the scandalous (for that time) opera Carmen, but there is nothing notorious about this gentle piece of night music. A three-way conversation between strings, winds, and brass, all played slowly and softly, perfectly captures the sleepy mood of a settling evening. Something about this piece makes you want to slip a little deeper under the covers in preparation for uninterrupted slumber. Approx. 4 minutes.
  12. The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals (by Camille Saint-Saëns) features a cello solo from a work that paints a musical montage of different animals using an orchestra and two pianos. Just as a swan smoothly glides across a still pond, leaving only the slightest wake of water behind, you too will feel as if you are floating across quiet reflecting waters, seeking a nesting place for a gentle night of sleep. Approx. 4 minutes

Let Nest Bedding Complete Your Aural Paradise

While there are many other classical works appropriate for inducing a state of slumber and dreams, it will be enough of a challenge to stay awake through this outstanding list. Combine this soothing classical playlist with one of our Nest Bedding mattresses to fall asleep faster.

Contact us today to make your bedroom the dreamland you have always wanted.