Spending a weekend at a festival, partying in a field, listening to your favourite bands — what more could you want? A shower, and most definitely sleep!
Usually, you’ll leave the field craving your bed, after surviving the weekend on six hours of sleep and good vibes alone. But what if there was an alternative option?
What is The Sleep Stage?
‘The Sleep Stage’ is the brainchild of Mattress Online, here to flip festival line-ups on their head.
While the biggest names are usually last up, what if the bands playing the late night slots were the ones that will get you ready for a restful night’s sleep?
We’ve analysed headline acts from 15 UK festival line-ups, including the iconic Glastonbury Festival, examining the tempo, danceability and energy of each act’s most streamed song. Based on our findings, we’ve rearranged the running orders of the festivals to put the most sleep-inducing artists last.
What makes a good sleep song?
Generally speaking, the best songs to listen to when trying to sleep have a tempo (or beats per minute) of between 60 to 100, which aligns with the normal resting heart rate of adults. In fact, according to our research, the ideal tempo is 98 beats per minute, helping you relax and drift off to sleep.
Low energy and danceability scores suggest a song is slower and will therefore be more likely to soothe you to sleep, as opposed to faster, dance-style tracks. Likewise, the quieter the track, the less distracting the music will be.
Sound is measured in decibels (dB); a higher number of decibels means the sound is louder. We found 23dB to be the optimal loudness for sleep.
Rufus Wainwright, Paul McCartney and Nick Mulvey would headline Glastonbury’s Sleep Stage
According to our analysis, Rufus Wainwright would headline the Sleep Stage at Glastonbury. His most streamed song ‘Hallelujah’ has 73 beats per minute, a 37% danceability score and energy score of 16%. Placing him last on the line up will make festival-goers relaxed and ready for their bed.
Next up is Paul McCartney. Paul’s most streamed song, ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’, has 79 beats per minute, 47% danceability and a 49% energy score. As chance would have it, Paul McCartney is already the headliner on Saturday at Glastonbury 2022, so crowds could be in for a good night’s sleep afterwards.
Although Nick Mulvey’s ‘Fever to The Form’ song has a tempo of 106 beats per minute — slightly higher than the ideal of 60-100BPM — the song’s low danceability (36%) and energy scores (55%) secure Nick a place as a headliner on the Glastonbury Sleep Stage.
Latitude, Leeds & Reading and Wireless Festival are best for a good night’s sleep
According to our analysis of this year’s headliners, Latitude has the most sleep-inducing acts on its line up. Headliners including Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol and Foals are well-known for their slower sound, giving the festival an average sleep score of 48, the lowest of all festivals analysed.
Surprisingly, Leeds & Reading Festival is in second place with an average sleep score of 54, despite being well-known for the rock bands it attracts. Wireless festival takes third place, averaging at 58.
The best acts to see before bed by each UK festival
As well as looking at Glastonbury, we’ve also analysed the headliners for each major UK festival to exclusively reveal which bands are best to see before you go to bed. Check out the headliners for each below — are there any surprises?
How to get a good night’s sleep at a festival
Unfortunately, the Sleep Stage doesn’t really exist, so how else can you get a good night’s sleep at a festival? We spoke to Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO from The Sleep Charity, who shared their tips:
1. Store up your sleep ahead of a festival
You can “store up” extra sleep before a weekend of festival activities. By getting some extra snooze over the couple of nights prior to your event, your body will be slightly more resilient to any sleep deprivation.
It’s worth noting that this may not always be the case, so you may also want to consider how you can get some shuteye at a festival.
2. Go easy on the alcohol
Alcohol may allow you to go to sleep if it relaxes you, or it may make you unconscious, but it’s seriously unhelpful to a good night’s kip. You don’t breathe as well and the sleep is more broken because your brain reacts against being unconscious.
Alcohol will also dehydrate you, so drink plenty of water before going to bed. However, to avoid a middle of the night loo break, try to limit what you drink in the hour or two before you’re going to bed. Definitely have one last trip to the loo before you do snuggle down for the night, too.
3. Pack your sleep aids
You may want to hit the sack before others have finished partying and enjoying themselves, so consider taking ear plugs to block out sound and an eye mask to stop early morning light waking you.
Obviously, you can’t take your bed with you while sleeping at a festival but if possible, take your pillow or another home comfort such as a lavender spray or night cream.
4. Position your tent right
You may also want to consider where you base is — think about pitching your tent away from busy walkways and try to ensure you’re on a flat patch of grass so that you’re sleeping on a smoother surface.
5. Prepare for the cold — even in summer
It may get chilly overnight, so make sure you keep warm. Layer up with a sleeping bag, blankets and consider taking bed socks and maybe even a hat — it’s hard to sleep when your feet and head are cold!
6. Book in some post-festival recovery sleep
After a heavy weekend, you can use the early part of the week to get in some extra “recovery sleep”. Younger people don’t need many extra hours to catch up on what they lost out on over the weekend.
Remember it’s only for a couple of nights, so if you practice good sleep hygiene, a couple of disturbed night’s sleep won’t harm you. Just get back on track when you return home!
With the right precautions, it is possible to sleep well at a festival. However, we bet you’ll still be glad to swap your tent for a comfortable mattress once you’re home!
For Glastonbury Festival, we analysed 50 acts. For the other UK festivals, we analysed a maximum of six headline acts each.
We selected the most streamed song for each act and used Music Stax to gather tempo, danceability and energy scores. We then ranked each.
- Songs with a tempo of 60–100 beats per minute scored 1, as this is the best tempo for sleep.
- Danceability and energy scores were taken from Music Stax for each song. We ranked each, where lower scores are more favourable for sleep.
We totalled the ranks for each to give an overall sleep score — the lower this score, the more sleep-inducing the artist is.