Can a metronome help you sleep?

We’ve received several emails from users of our Metronome Beats app who say it is helping them sleep better at night. In this article we look at how listening to a metronome can help you fall asleep, and how to set up the metronome to achieve this.

Why does listening to a metronome help you fall asleep?

There are a few different reasons listening to a metronome can help with sleep:

  1. It gives you something to focus on. Do you find that your mind won’t stop racing when you hit the pillow? Focusing on a metronome sound can help to calm your mind. I was recommended counting backwards but found this didn’t work as it would make me anxious when I realised I was getting closer and closer to 1 and still not sleeping!

  2. It can help you slow down your breathing. As we relax and fall asleep our heart and breathing rate starts to slow down. Listening to a metronome at a suitable BPM can help with this.

  3. Research suggests that listening to a metronome can help reinforce our brain’s natural rhythms (see

What settings should you put in a metronome to help you sleep?

You can set Metronome Beats to slowly decrease in speed over time:

  1. Set the starting BPM on the main screen. This should be a rate close to your actual heart rate – somewhere around 60-80 BPM.

  2. Go to the tempo trainer option and select ‘decrease tempo’. Set the minimum BPM to around 20 BPM less than your starting tempo and set the tempo to decrease by 5 BPM every 5 minutes or so.

  3. Press play on the main metronome screen, lie back and relax.

If you don’t want to have the metronome change speed over time you can just set it going and then set the timer within the app to stop after 20 minutes (or longer if you need it). Start with 60BPM and change this to suit you. Once you have set the metronome going listen to the sound to calm your mind, relax and hopefully drift off to sleep.

You can also experiment with the different sound options in the app. From the Preferences menu choose ‘Preset Sounds’ and see what you like. The ‘Mechanical’ option sounds a bit like a ticking clock, which you might like. Also try experimenting with the beat emphasis – click on the yellow and red lights at the top of the screen. Try setting them to all yellow (or all red) to get the same sound with no variation. Or leave the first beat emphasised (red) and try different numbers of beats per bar.

Using a metronome to sleep won’t work for everyone but it is worth giving it a try!