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Our world is edging towards a sleep crisis, with everything from the cost of living and digital connection to climate change causing more and more of us to lose sleep – with potentially devastating consequences

While noise can be a major issue in preventing a good night’s sleep, sound can play a vital role in helping to restore our sleep balance, and can even help us to forget traumatic memories. Whether it’s noise of various colours from white to blue, movements like slow radio, music that aids relaxation or the sounds of nature, sound could be crucial to tackling the global sleep deficit. 

That’s where our latest global project comes in – Music for Sleep is a collaboration between artists and field recordists to create a worldwide, wide-ranging collection of precious compositions specifically designed to induce, aid and boost sleep.


How does Music for Sleep work?

Artists will reimagine recordings from a treasure trove of birdsong, wave sounds, nature, song, bell chimes and other calming sound sources to develop a suite of brand new pieces that will help listeners all over the world to find sleep. 

Contributing artists will be free to develop compositions that reflect their own interpretation, thoughts and memories around what sleep, rest and tranquillity mean to them, whether that’s ambient music, piano, strings or guitar, spoken word, sound art or another sonic approach. 

The resulting pieces will be presented individually, and highlights from the project will also be woven together by Cities and Memory into an hour-long, sleep-focused composition that sits at the centre of the Music for Sleep project.

The project will run in two phases:

1. An open call for field recordings from around the world that speak to the themes of sleep, rest and relaxation

2. An open call for artists to develop compositions built from those recordings, designed to help listeners find tranquillity, relax and sleep

Join the Music for Sleep project

We are currently seeking field recordings from all over the world that reflect your interpretation of sleep, rest and tranquillity – sounds could be drawn from the natural world or man-made sounds, rural or urban.

Submit your recordings at this link by Friday 30 June: 

If you’re an artist who’d like to join the waitlist for creating a sleep-themed composition, just add your name here and we will contact you when the recordings are available in a few weeks: 

The project will launch on Cities and Memory and across our podcast during late summer 2023 – and compositions and recordings selected for the project will be archived by the British Library’s digital archive and preserved for the future.

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