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Music and sleep

09-08-2014

Music and sleep

You probably think that your days of lullabies are long past. So did we. Until we read this article about the connection between music and sleep and thought, maybe we do need more lullabies in our life. Most parents almost instinctively hum lullabies to their babies when they are trying to get them to sleep. This is common across many cultures, so there has to be something going on here, right? Otherwise it would not have been such a universal trait. Many people admit to a preference for falling asleep to either the TV or the radio, which adds another level to the issue.

In fact, it turns out that as well as being a legitimate area of sleep research, it has also been the focus on the omnivorous Reddit. One particular focus of scientists the connection between music and sleep. While the science has not uncovered anything concrete about whether certain music can help you go to sleep, it has found that some music can help you stay awake.

For example, a study that let 20 students listen to the music of their choice whilst having a 20 more students as a control group who were not listening to any music. The students without the music fell asleep faster than those listening to music. Interestingly, when when both groups were told to try to go to sleep as quickly as they could, the length of time it took them to go to sleep was reversed, with the group who were listening to music taking longer to go to sleep than the group without.

Another study that looked at older women and was published in the Journal of Community Health Nursing, found that music not only decreased the time it took them to get to sleep, but also resulted in less moments of waking during the night. As with the above study the participants were allowed to choose their own music, which was mostly classical, though some listened to either sacred and new age music.

So it certainly seems that music may help us get to sleep. If that is the case what music should you listen to? Funny you ask, here is the perfect music, apparently. The music has been specially created by psychologist Dave Elliot of the University of Cumbria based on his research into music and sleep. Elliot found that the most relaxing music, at least according to people who had been asked during anxiety studies, had a range of shared features: namely that they had 90 beats per minute, a 4/4 beat, piano and strings, and as well as narrow note sequences where the notes moved from low to high.

Do we recommend that you go to sleep listening to music? The answer is an equivocal maybe. We have read lots of different research on sleep and most of it suggests that the best way to get to sleep is to be in a dark and quiet room. However, if you try it and it works then maybe it is alright for you.

 


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