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Music playing in my head when I wake up

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Song of the Day 2024 playlist Cover

For as long as I can remember, every morning when I wake up, a song is playing in my head. There are very few days when it doesn't happen. Sometimes the origin of the song is straight forward, I heard it somewhere a day or two before. Most of the time, it's a song that I haven't heard in a long long time, often years. I do love waking up with a song in my head, but a lot of these songs I don't even like.

Seems like I'm not alone

Last year in August, I tweeted about it and quite a few people replied that they have the same thing happening almost every day.

This gave me an idea, why not create a playlist and adding all the songs that play in my head every morning? So here it is, a growing playlist of the songs my brain plays when I wake up.

Song of the Day 2024 playlist

The rules are simple, when I wake up, I look for the song playing in my head and add it to the playlist. If on any given day there is no song playing, I will not add a song on that day.

Feel free to judge me on this, as mentioned before these songs do not always reflect my taste in music.

Digging deeper

As any sensible human these days, I asked ChatGPT to explain this phenomena to me. Here is what the machine thinks could be the reasons behind it:

  1. Long-Term Memory and Music: Music has a strong connection to memory. Your brain can store a vast repertoire of songs and melodies, often linked with specific memories or periods in your life. A song you haven't heard in years might surface due to a subconscious trigger, such as a dream, a thought, an emotion, or a sensory input that is somehow associated with that song.
  2. Subconscious Processing: While you sleep, your brain doesn't just rest; it actively processes memories, emotions, and information from the day. This process can sometimes trigger the recall of long-forgotten songs. Dreams, though not always remembered, can also play a role in this. They can be a mash-up of various life experiences, thoughts, and emotions, potentially triggering the memory of a song.
  3. Emotional and Contextual Triggers: Music is strongly tied to emotions. A song from the past might emerge in your mind because it's linked to a particular emotional memory or feeling. The context of the song (when you first heard it, what you were doing, who you were with) can also play a role. Sometimes, the current emotional state or life circumstances might subconsciously resonate with those past experiences, bringing the song to the forefront of your mind.
  4. Random Neural Activity: The brain has a degree of random neural firing that occurs naturally. Sometimes, this random activity might trigger the recall of a specific song fragment, especially if that song was once very familiar or had a significant impact.
  5. Earworms and Cognitive Patterns: Earworms can be a result of your brain's natural inclination towards patterns and repetition. Even if a song hasn't been heard recently, its strong, repetitive pattern might make it more likely to become an earworm.

Before you go

Let me know here in the comments or on X if this happens to you too. In case you create a playlist of your own, please share it, can't wait to listen to it and add it here.


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