Weekend Soundtrack: Songs To Relax To

It’s no secret that it’s near impossible to get a good night’s sleep in a hospital. Apart from the weird lights coming from all directions (thank you eye mask!!) it’s also really noisy. Nurses speed walking and chatting up and down the halls, carts of pills or laundry clattering past the door, and call buttons constantly beeping off in the distance.

Then of course, there’s the people who come at all hours to poke and prod me. They always want my blood. Even at 1am. They want to wrap blood pressure bands around me, check my dressings, check my pulse, check my oxygen.

And then, when I think it’s all over, my IV starts to beep because my bag of blood thinners has run out.

Like I said, it’s hard to sleep, so I don’t say no to the sleeping pills when they offer them to me. But sometimes a girl just wants some peace and quiet to relax to. When this happens, I put on my eye mask and headphones and zone out to some of my favourite, most relaxing music.

So far, my music highlights have all been pretty upbeat for things like running or driving in the car. But these days I mostly need something to help me chill. Here’s some of my favourite low-key tunes:


There are so many Sufjan Stevens songs I could add to this list, but this one is just so melodic and sweet. The song doesn’t have an actual video though, so there’s nothing really to “watch” if you click above.


ALL of the music from Great Lake Swimmers is very mellow, actually great music to fall asleep to. This particular one is my favourite though, and the video was filmed for one of my favourite Canadian radio shows.


José González is another musician who seems to put out consistently chill music. I used to study to it all the time in university. This song is a cover, but his version is the only one I know. He also does a great cover of “Teardrop.”


Does anyone even still listen to Death Cab For Cutie anymore? Or am I just still stuck in 2005? This song starts out suuuper slow, which is what I love about it. Then it slowly builds up to this soft and thoughtful tune.


I found this song by way of how I find a lot of my music – through online streaming “radio stations.” It is just such a pretty song. Almost like Joni Mitchell, except I can’t fully commit to that comment, because I am usually pretty vocal about my dislike for Joni Mitchell. But then, I’m usually full of hypocritical statements anyways.


Things are rather quiet here at the hospital this long weekend. Been up and about and it feels good to be allowed to move around again! It’s a beautiful day so I’m going to try to get outdoors for some fresh air. I should be able to pop in again tomorrow. Have a great Saturday!

Posted on July 2, 2011, in Music. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. It is funny that rest and sleep can play a big part in helping people get better yet it is hard to get in a hospital. Things I’ve learned from a family member’s cancer diagnosis in the fall and from your blog- hospitals need to change!

    Do you have noise cancelling headphones or ear buds? I wonder if the big ole noise cancellers would help block the world out even more…

    • So true, I forgot about the difficulty of getting a decent night’s
      sleep at a hospital-must be so frustrating! And they do say enough
      sleep is crucial for out good health,so I imagine it is crucial
      for rest and recovery through illness.
      I use earplugs sometimes when travelling or in a diff sleeping situaton-could be helpful.

      Susan,thanks for the music! I was drawn to the beauty and
      imagery in Hem-Half Acre and think I will be getting that tune for sure.Really beautiful!

      Have a good Sat night and hope decent sleep.Hmmm if there are all these cute guys working at hospital on a Sat night…watch out;)

  2. other music recommendations –

    Arvo Part
    I like to call them lullabies for adults. so beautiful and always relaxes me.

    Grey Reverend
    A new favorite. Very low key and melodic.

    Some other suggestions…

    The Bowerbirds
    The Boxer Rebellion
    Page France
    Portishead (unless you’re over them, but i still find their self titled album to be incredible)
    Massive Attack
    Songs: Ohia (yes, spelled Ohia, not Ohio)
    Sylvie Lewis

    Good luck! Hope you enjoy some of these suggestions.

  3. I still listen to Death Cab from time to time! Their music always seems to relax me.

    I find instrumental music really relaxing too. Although I rarely listen to it anymore!

  4. Those are beautiful songs. I hope that your hospital stay doesn’t last too long and that you’re able to rest.

  5. Moving Pictures, Silent Films is one of my all time fav songs… My friend and i saw them live, and i videotaped it and that audio from the show is my favorite version!

  6. I always think of what a talented musician you are. I bet you will rekindkle your love for making music after this experience. (performance vlog yahh!) meanwhile glad that u can chill with some good tunes. Music is so nurturing & healing.

  7. Hi Susan,

    So, the original version of the “Heartbeats” by The Knife is one of my favorite songs in the world. I’m going to have to go back and look at all your music recommendations more closely!

  8. Mellow music is my favourite, to be honest! I always listen to relaxing music when I’m stressed out or sad. I love Heartbeats and Death Cab for Cutie, so I’m gonna check out the rest of your recommendations. ;)

    A few or mine:
    Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine
    Chicane – No Ordinary Morning
    SunLounger – Lost
    Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts
    Peter Von Poehl – The Story of the Impossible
    Bloc Party – Signs
    Helen Stellar – This Time Around
    Ludovico Einaudi – Nuvole Bianche
    Roberto Cacciapaglia – Figlia del Cielo

  9. Susan,

    I’ve been following your blog posts very closely from Europe. I will write more when I get home (getting ready to hit the sack on my last night in Sweden!). I wanted to say two quick things, though:

    1. Check out Bon Iver’s new CD (self-titled), as well as his old one (For Emma, Forever Ago), along with the new City and Colour CD. Based on the songs you posted i KNOW you’ll love these!

    2. You amaze me and I am sending you all the positive energy in the world.

    lots of love,


    • I listened to Bon Iver at work the other day and forgot about it – he would be perfect hospital tunes!

      Hope you’re having a blast on your travels :)

  10. I feel like a Gramma because I’ve never heard of most of the musicians above BUT I plan on checking them out!

    Sleeping in the hospital is next to impossible indeed. There’s always a light somewhere and I remember being miserable during my stays in there as well – like the time when you NEED the sleep and pretty much impossible. The eye mask IS the best thing & great idea with the chill music. Are there any books that you’re reading?

    • Yes, I’ve got a stack of books people have sent me. Although, I can’t seem to process fiction right now because my brain is so fried from everything that’s happened. Right now reading a really good book called “Everything Changes” about people in their 20s with cancer.

  11. I love Death Cab. That’s my favorite album too.
    When I was in the hospital the only sleep I got was when I was unconscious for 3 days!

  12. Goodness…I remember the poking and prodding from being in the hospital having babies…I’m sure you’re getting it worse. It IS impossible to sleep there.

    So glad you’ve got some music to help you drown out the sounds of the hospital. Every time I read one of your posts now, I think back to that “healthy living blogger” post from the day you found out. Ah. Always thinking of you.

  13. I totally get the loud noises in the hospital!
    Try listening to the Wicked (the musical) soundtrack. I love it!
    O, or any Maroon 5 or Jason Mraz song :)

  14. Great Lake Swimmers do it for me every time. Love them.

    PS: I walked down the isle to “The Dress Looks Nice On You” – sentimental favorite. :)

  15. Oooh Hem is a new discovery for me! Thank you Susan!

    Right now I love State Radio’s “Keep Sake”

  16. no shame in death cab! i went to their concert in may (one of the best eva!) and their new album is awesome. oohhhh send me your address so i can send it to youuuu! thankyouverymuch :)

  17. Hi Susan – I still love and listen to Death Cab. :) The new song – You are a Tourist – I LOVE. It’s not a sleeping song but so catchy.

    I love the songs you posted on here – I have a few other suggestions for you too! I’ve listed the full cds because when I have trouble sleeping, I’ll usually put one disk on and let it play.

    -Broken Social Scene – Bee Hives, You Forgot It In People, Feel Good Lost
    -Bon Iver (someone suggested already but I second it!)
    -Mindy Smith – Long Island Shores
    -The Weepies
    -Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway
    -Peter Bradley Adams – Leavetaking

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