Sleeping and Music



When people say it is best not to go to bed angry, I can understand

their logic. There is a saying, often quoted, derived from the Bible,

“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” I used to have a hard time

sleeping, while young,  if things were unsettled or unresolved in my life.

Recently, I read another way of looking at this,  a different perspective

being:  Why ‘battle it out’ while tired? Instead why not go to bed and

‘sleep on it?’

While we are sleeping, many neurons keep on firing in our brains.

Many people come up with book ideas, song lyrics or other creative

thoughts, along with going, “Ah ha!” and waking up refreshed and

having a whole different outlook on their life or problems. I know a

few people who have had a pad of paper and pen or pencil on their

bedside table, sometimes called a ‘night stand.’ The brain still practices

music, it is still active while we are still and deep in our REM mode of

sleeping. Instincts sometimes keep our mind alive, while we have a little

baby in our care, whether we are a parent, grandparent or babysitter.

Animals are on ‘guard,’ while we may be more sorting through our fears,

re-thinking and processing, our cautions may even become ‘fixed’ and

we may solve a way out of our danger, at hand.

While our bodies are slowing down, our metabolism also is slowing.

We have growth and cell repair sources released while we sleep.

Something scary that researchers are now filling us in on is that

those who are more likely to get Alzheimer’s and dementia are people

who have gone through most of their adult life, lacking sleep, this would

apply to nurses, doctors, air traffic comptrollers and others who have a

busy and hectic schedule, allowing less sleep and rest in their lives.


Some positives gathered from several sources gained from our deep and

tranquil sleep:

Mathematicians solve algorithms and problems while sleeping.

Scientists figure our solutions, structures and finish ‘their daily work,’ in

their sleep.

When we make mistakes, our mind rolls the process around in our head,

we are much more cautious, an example given, when we approach a slick

piece of ice on a road, after we have had an accident.


We may have our best songs that we sing and our best pieces of art,

while creative minds were finishing their projects, organizing and


Leading me into the next subject. . .

There is a musical milestone that we past last February: 100 years of


Many songwriters don’t get the money from our downloading ‘free’

music. This organization was created in 1914, representing currently

over 1/2 million songwriters. It ensures the rights to make money while

others may sing their songs.

I have known two local groups who write their own music, who joined

ASCAP.  Team KNYCE (a trio of rappers with some blues and jazz

influences) and Morgan Treni, who wrote all of her own songs on her

Fall, 2014 release of her Essays album. A group that plays locally folk

songs, whose advice I sought about this subject, also all are members.


The American Society of Composers, Authors  and Publishers is a long-

standing organization who has famous members, including Irving Berlin.

This is a world wide organization and it is emphasized by mentors of

musicians to join this, to protect your music. When performers sing the

Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas,” his heirs will get checks. It protects

performers who sing their own songs. Although artists get royalties from

sales of albums, there was a time when famous musical composers would

die, virtually ‘penniless.’


Just for your interest, I found out the estimated sales of the song, “White

Christmas” make it the most sung and highest number of all time, as over

50 billion song copies sold , with the second most being Elton John’s,

“Candle in the Wind,” at 33 billion copies sold.


The President of ASCAP is the well-respected and likable Paul Williams.

I was amazed when I saw him speaking recently on television of all the

wonderful songs he wrote. I enjoy his sense of humor, along with in the

past, numerous guest starring parts on television shows. Here are just

a few examples of Paul Williams’ songs:

Three Dog Night sings his song, “Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song.”

The Carpenters sang his song, “Rainy Days and Mondays.”

The theme song for “Love Boat” still brings Paul Williams some royalty

checks, as it repeats and reruns on television.


ASCAP President Paul Williams (composer and singer) says it is very

frustrating how many sources on the Internet ‘try to steal music’ and not

allow the original artist or songwriter to get their ‘cut’ or ‘share of the pie.’

An example of how many songs are streaming was 7 million streams of

one Lady Antebellum song in a short period of time, losing quite a lot of

money for the group and composer, too. Taylor Swift was interviewed

about ASCAP, saying she was pulling her songs off of “Spotify.” Garth

Brooks and Billy Joel were also outspoken while being asked about this

landmark anniversary of the organization. They mentioned Pandora,

as another source which is a concern of theirs, allowing access to songs

without paying for them.


So, when you listen to “The Music in Me” (written by keyboardist Bias

Bochell, of the Kiki Dee Band), “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel)

and Stevie Wonder’s “Dance to the Music,” you may not get these free


There are some artists, musicians and composers standing up for their

rights, in the face of the internet. We will see if the songs that are pulled

off, will still reach the popularity level that others which are free and


As fellow bloggers and writers, we must admire their integrity and

believe in their right to having their music kept original and protected.


Patricia Cornwell was a 1975 high school graduate. I graduated in 1974

which makes me feel like we could have been friends. My brother, Randy,

was a ’75 graduate so I hung out with a lot of his friends. She is an author

I deeply admire. I was interested in knowing how she reached her level

of writing and productivity. Her most recent book, “Flesh and Blood,”

was published in November, 2014.


I enjoy her murder mysteries that often dwell upon the forensics found in

the coroner’s office. Ms. Cornwell says her favorite book for years, one she

carried around everywhere, was titled, “The Inner Game of Tennis.” She

has been a tennis player yet never became a professional tennis player.

She suggests there is much to find in the book about life. She also slyly

mentioned in AARP magazine, that she may not play like a pro, but she

has through her writing and recognition been able to make friends with

Billie Jean King. Timothy Gallwey wrote this book Patricia admired and



Although she does not mention sleep and creativity, I imagine she would

say she discovered some of her best plot lines while sleeping. I contemplate

how rest can prepare you for reaching your own personal goals.

Patricia Cornwell on her personal motivation:

“After reading the book, “The Inner Game of Tennis,” I made it my ambition

to pay attention and not live a fear-driven life. When I sit down to write, I

remind myself to stay in the moment.”


J.M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan,” is often quoted:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able

to do it.”


Sometimes, as in Peter Pan, it is fun to be child-like. In “Downton


Elizabeth McGovern portrays the character, “Cora,” Countess of Grantham.

In her personal life, she may not be so serious, as exhibited by this quote:

“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”


Hmm. . .Or is this possibly a ‘slam’ on those who tend to act immature,

even as adults. . . up to your own interpretation.


42 responses »

  1. I went through the same series of arguments with myself about “not going to bed angry” and I’ve come to the same conclusions. Whatever time it is, we need to not be angry when we discuss our problems, and being overtired isn’t much good either.

  2. i agree about ‘sleeping on’ things and i’m one of those people who keep paper and pencil near my bed, most of my ideas seem to come at night and when i wake up, i find most of my problems seem less important.

    • I like the suggestion of ideas come at night and problems are less important in the morning. We tend to be positive in a lot of ways, trying to find the little sunshine behind the gloomy clouds, Beth. Even on the worst of days, it is better to be waking up than not!

  3. It is so true that often I have gone to bed with the weight of the world on my shoulders and awoken with a whole new perspective. Hey, I graduated in 1974 too. And Patricia Cornwall did a lot of her work as a medical examiner right here in Richmond.

    • Oh, another connection, Barb! I guess we probably knew this somewhere along the way, with Ned C. and Cedar Point love story… ha ha!
      I did not know that her work as a medical examiner was mainly there in Richmond. She talks about Quantico and her niece in her books, so I am ‘easily distracted’ about details of where it all takes place. (Imagine that, ha ha!)

      • I don’t know about her fictional character, Robin, I meant Patricia Cromwell herself did medical examiner work in Richmond. I wasn’t sure if I was very clear on that!

      • Oh, yes, I knew you meant as a living, breathing coroner. I think her experiences help her to write such detailed and unique books. I was just trying to explain that I did not know if she talks about Richmond in her books… Then added that her character has a niece who is part of the Quantico (federal government investigation team.) I can easily make confusing sentences, all by myself! ha ha!

  4. Interesting facts, particularly the Dementia…which yes is scary, considering the amount of sleep I don’t get each night 😞 they are doing tests over here to see if taking aspirin each day will alleviate it. My mind continually works at night, until I’m exhausted and then I ‘think’ no more. Another one is that you lose weight whilst sleeping. Since wearing my Fitbit, when I wake I check and I burn anywhere from 400-500 calories overnight., so that a bonus! Hugs Rob xx 😊

    • I am so glad you are burning calories at night, one way or another… snicker, snicker. And of course, I am glad you got one of those Fitbits, I just read about them in a technology article… I am happy to know they work! I hope that you will become calmer in your sleeping patterns. Wonder what would help? Prayer or meditation? I have a silly ‘scenario’ that is my ‘go to’ and get to sleep plan. It is one I have had for a few years, where I am on vacation, so I imagine sitting at a bar, talking to people surrounding me, then I add different details until I fall asleep. I read about this pre-dreaming sequencing in a book once upon a time…

  5. Love the sleep info. I get ideas as I fall asleep or in my sleep. I also think it’s better to sleep on an argument then carry it on when everyone is tired!

    • I am not sure where my comments went! I am laughing as I type in a new one. Maybe it will reappear after I write this one in, Luanne! I think it is such a good idea, to wait and think before one expresses any upsetting news or anger, too. You are welcome for the sleep information, Luanne. I do get ideas in the morning… after a good night’s sleep! smiles!

  6. I rarely wake up feeling refreshed. My sleep is very broken, which could be hormone related…since I’m nearing 50. 🙂 It makes me a little nervous given my mother’s diagnosis of dementia. She did get good sleep, so I imagine they’re are other factors in play.

    • I am sure it is not the main cause of dementia, Jill. I am sorry to hear your mother was diagnosed with this. I have been worried about my Mom’s memory but so far no test have determined a cause. They do think thyroid medicine may help to regain some brain function. My brother is adamant she take her t. meds. I hope you will somehow come up with a way to feel refreshed. I make up pre-dream sequences, which help me relax. A vacation place, a beach and what do I see around the area?…

      • My mother got very ill a few years ago and was ultimately diagnosed with Grave’s Disease. I think that has contributed to some of her memory issues.
        I might need to try the pre-dream sequences!

    • Ha ha! This one got me chuckling, Eli! Thanks for this one! I do think creative thoughts are generated while we sleep. It is so interesting to think our mind keeps on going…

  7. I used to keep a writing tablet next to my bed when I was working on something…inevitably, I’d wake with a phrase or something, write it down and fall back asleep. In the morning, I had to decipher my writing! lol

  8. I used to be the ‘don’t go to bed angry’ type because, when I had to get up for work in the middle of the night, it affected my day to have disagreements that hung over through the next day. I was able to correct that situation by ending that 30 year relationship. My second wife and I seldom have conflicts that cannot be easily resolved.

    When I was writing, I always felt much more productive first thing in the morning. I think, ever since the ten years when I worked those pre-dawn shifts, I remain a morning person. I have no problem getting up early when there are tasks waiting. That way, my afternoons are good for reading or playing grandpa. – Mike

    • I am so glad you play grandpa in person now, instead of skyping, Mike! The stories and bonds were built and were able to withstand distance and time, but the hands-on FUN is best!

  9. I never go to bed angry. That has always been great advice. 🙂 I very much enjoyed your post this morning, Robin. Very interesting. It’s strange the things we dream when sleeping deeply. I once dreamed an entire rock video. I composed the music, wrote the lyrics, choreographed the dancing–everything. But I know nothing about music. 😀 xo

  10. I don’t often have trouble sleeping and so when I do (have trouble) it is usually because there is something whirring in my head. I have found that the best way is to get up and deal with it, even if it makes me tired the next day. So that is why my budgeting and difficult letters and things like that have often been drafted at 3 am! Great post and thanks for the info on the song with the most sales. I always knew that it was White Christmas and then Candle in the Wind surpassed it the year that it came out. Obviously White Christmas has edged ahead of it again.

    • Yes, this is like I am sometimes, I get up and worry if I don’t get a task done. I have written letters and checks… in the middle of the night! I like to have creative thoughts in my dreams and sometimes I do write some down… Thanks, Elizabeth for this nice comment and also, for filling me in on the music, too!

  11. When I was a teenager I mostly left my stereo on the FM radio the whole night as I slept, Robin. I think it made me … tired in school.

    I am all for people getting paid for their intellectual property. Songwriters, screewriters, authors. People who think they should get art or music or books or movies for free on the Internet don’t think of the creators.

    • Thanks, Mark, for sharing about your habit of listening to the FM radio channel.
      I do think my good friends did this, too. Not sure if it were the reason they seemed tired or if they were allowed to stay up later? We had to go to bed by 10 pm. in high school, 9 p.m. in middle school and groan! 8 pm. in elementary! My grandkids definitely need more sleep and I think that I will keep my mouth shut about their later bedtimes… smiles!

    • I am smiling at you ever being boring! But maybe it means your creative juices don’t flow and then, maybe we would not have such lovely and thoughtful posts from you. I would miss the special characters you draw, you facing all kinds of challenges and opening your arms and hearts to us. So, please sleep well and don’t get lethargic on us! Ha ha!

  12. Valuable info shared Robin…..I can sleep anytime anywhere that carefree I am. If I have some important task at hand or commitment I can’t sleep unless I am done. one should be contented and in peace before hitting bed to go into deep slumber. I do my maximum writing at night and then sleep blissfully 🙂

  13. Pirating music is big business these days, so much involved in publishing a song, copyright distribution and everything else that goes with it, I wish the singers and songwriters success.
    I think the most song ever sold throughout the world was Bing Cosby, White Christmas.

    • I am glad you posted an opinion in this section, Ian. I really felt it was important to get a discussion started. After all, we need to be thankful for those composers, musicians and authors who give us their beautiful music! Thanks, Ian!

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