Purple clouds peek out from behind a mountain range in the night sky.

The Ultimate "Sleep" Playlist

By Mekenzie Primm
Music Journalist

Valentines Day has passed and Mardi Gras has wrapped up. It’s exhausting to have to celebrate these two holidays, plus Christmas, New Years and go back to school within a two month span– so I decided to shine a little light on the holiday that I think conquers all other holidays: Public Sleeping Day. 

This sacred holiday falls on February 28 and while I’m not 100% sure what they mean by “public” sleeping day, if there’s any form of sleeping involved, I’m in. As I prepared for this coveted holiday, I created the top five best songs ever written that have to do with sleeping or dreaming in some shape or form. With this list, I tried to provide some deep cuts, off-hand songs and surprises, so hopefully these songs can get you into peak sleeping mode. Without further ado, here we go. 

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac

While this song isn’t explicitly about sleep, it is about someone who dreams of life that is different than the one they currently have, separate from loneliness and solitude. Stevie Nicks’s ethereal vocals and immaculate songwriting make you feel like you’re a reed blowing in the wind with no direction. 

A song that’s tinged so heavily with heartbreak and despair shouldn’t mix so well with Christine McVie’s brooding background vocals and drummer Mick Fleetwood’s hypnotic heartbeat-like drums, but it does, and that’s the power of Fleetwood Mac. This song truly transcends time and space when you listen to it. If you’ve never listened to this song, please do it. Turn this song on and just ~vibe.~ 

“#9 Dream” by John Lennon with The Plastic Ono Nuclear Band

Something you’ll learn about me is that I absolutely adore John Lennon, and while he might have been a little shady, I think he’s one of, if not, the greatest songwriters of all time. I realize that’s a pretty bold opinion and I’m sorry if I offended anyone, but this is my article so I’m gonna talk about him. While this is another song that isn’t exactly about sleep, Lennon’s idea for this song was conceived in a dream. 

According to May Pang (Lennon’s partner at the time), “He woke up and wrote down those words along with the melody. He had no idea what it meant, but he thought it sounded beautiful,” and I think I have to agree. This song perfectly captures the atmospheric and elated feeling of what it’s like to be in a beautiful dream. I particularly enjoy the use of the cello in the chorus, I think it really elevates the song and shows Lennon’s technicality as a producer (as if he hadn’t done that already).  

“Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)” by Billy Joel

Finally! A song about sleep! I’m sorry to everyone in advance because this song is definitely a tear jerker. Joel wrote this song for his daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, as a reflection on what it’s like to watch your children grow up. If the word sentimental could be summed up in one song, this is what it would sound like. 

While Joel’s piano playing isn’t anything spectacular, it’s exactly what it needs to be. It’s soft, reflectful, and melancholic in all the right ways. My dad used to play this song for me when I was a kid, so this song will forever have a special place in my heart. If you ever want to have a good cry and reminisce about your past or long for the future, be sure to put this song on. 

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House

“Don’t Dream It’s Over,” a song off of Crowded House’s 1986 self-titled studio album, is a song that will live forever. I don’t know how but I feel like everyone knows about this song even if they’ve never heard it. While this is another song that’s not about sleep, it is about being asleep in your everyday life. This song is basically a call to wake up to the effects of mass media and consumerism. 

Who knew this song that has been ingrained in everyone’s memory packed such a punch. Whether you agree with what they’re saying or not, this is still a great song to rock out to at all times. Plus the chorus is a great one to belt out at the top of your lungs. 

“Dreams” by The Cranberries

It might be a little sacrilegious to have two songs of the same title on the same playlist but I can’t not put both of them up here. The Cranberries front-woman, Dolores O’Riordan, wrote this song about all the emotions that come along with being in love for the first time. This song has definitely been very integral in my life, and song co-writer Noel Hogan said that he never really understood why this song was so important to so many young people until O’Riordan passed away in 2018. 

This song is a voice and guiding light for those times where you’re just so blinded by love and have no idea what to do. If you want to listen to a song that makes you feel like you’re driving down the highway in a teen rom-com, listen to this. I know that’s super specific but everyone has wanted to feel like that at one point in their life, don’t lie. 

Honorable Mentions:

“Sleep Paralysis” by Bad Suns
“Sweet Dreams” by Beyoncé
“Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie
“Walking on a Dream” by Empire of the Sun
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)” by Eurythmics

Featured image by Mekenzie Primm via Canva.

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