Use Music to Improve Sleep and Decrease Stress

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Avatar of author sleeping on a bed of zzzz -s

Sleep is an important part of remaining healthy. According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) one third of the adult population doesn’t get enough sleep. Among the consequences of poor sleep are development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Check out the CDC site here. There is an area where you can also look at how your state stacks up in reference to sleep. Improving sleep can decrease stress.

Quality sleep helps with stress levels

There are many good reasons to make sleep a focus of our daily routine. Getting enough sleep and getting good quality sleep are key. Addressing any sleep issues can go a long way to helping you reduce your overall stress levels. Review my previous post on sleep here. There you can review the components of good sleep hygiene to improve your sleep and reduce stress.

Quantity of sleep is also important

Sleep loss impacts us on a variety of levels as detailed above. The CDC recommends 7 or more hours a night for adults. While a single night of poor sleep here and there is not likely to be harmful, if you are consistently getting less sleep than you need you may be suffering the deficit whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Sleep loss impacts:

  • Short term memory
  • Happiness levels
  • Depression
  • Cognitive speed and efficiency.

What about sleep aids?

Sleep aids are also a cost to our system. While short term use is likely not harmful taking these products over a number of years can cause issues. They are also pretty expensive and adding in medication side-effects drive that overall “cost” to you up.

Music and Sleep

I recently read an article that looks at how people use music to get better sleep. The article is clear that there is more research to be done and that their sample may be biased toward younger people as well as people who are musically oriented. Still, doing a short cost/benefit analysis shows that giving music a shot is a win/win.

Music has long been used as a means of relaxation and to address mood states. To use this to benefit sleep is not a far leap. This article looks at the benefits of music use. You can read the full article here.

Benefits of Music

  • Low Cost
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Decrease subjective experience of pain
  • Modulations of sympathetic nervous system activity
  • Reduce stress hormone cortisol release
  • Increase oxytocin release which promotes relaxation

The study was an anecdotal survey study done online. 651 individuals took the survey and of those 248 reported using music as a sleep aid. Of the 248 they inquired as to why and how the respondents thought that music helped them with sleep.

The “why” respondents gave for using music

  • Helps me fall asleep faster
  • Less time in bed before falling asleep
  • More satisfaction with sleep

The “how” respondents thought it worked

  • Helps me mentally relax
  • Distraction from events of the day
  • Helps me physically relax.

In the survey 545 musical artists were named. The most named artists were:

  • Johann Sebastian Bach (15)
  • Ed Sheeran (13)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (13)
  • Brian Eno (10)
  • Coldplay (9)

By these numbers we may be able to deduce that there isn’t one kind of music that is helpful and that it may go more to individual taste. The authors state that self selection of music is the key and that individuals are likely choosing music to address the why’s listed above. In this way music can be chosen for the desired effect (i.e. mood enhancement, distraction, physical relaxation).

Give it a try

Why not give music a try to address any sleep issues you may have?

  • The cost is relatively low when compared to pharmaceutical sleep aids.
  • There are no currently determinable side effects.
  • It is easy to add music as a regular part of your sleep hygiene. For example listening to preferred music for an hour prior to bedtime.

Getting enough sleep and good quality sleep can go a long way to helping reduce stress overall.

Let me know what you think. Drop a comment below.

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