Besides its potential to help reduce anxiety as well as the negative effects of physical pain, a new study suggests that music might serve as a cheap, non-pharmaceutical sleep aid for people facing difficulty in getting proper sleep. Sleep loss is a widespread problem and poses serious physical and economic consequences. However, there is a lack of systematic data on how widely it is used, why people opt for music as a sleep aid, or what music works.
The study found that music both stimulates sleep and blocks an internal or external stimulus that would otherwise disrupt sleep. “The study offers new understanding into the complex motivations that drive people to reach for music as a sleep aid and the reasons why so many find it effective,” said researchers including Tabitha Trahan from the University of Sheffield in the UK.
Further, to understand why people opt for music as a sleep aid, or what music works, the team investigated music as a sleep aid within the general public via an online survey that scored musicality, sleep habits, and open-text responses on what music helps sleep and why.
They examined 651 adults, who provided new evidence into the relationship between music and sleep in a population that ranged widely in age, musicality, sleep habits and stress levels. The results, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that 62 per cent use music to help them sleep. Even those who do not suffer from sleep disorders use music in their everyday lives to help improve the quality of their sleep experiences.
Studies have shown that music has many promising neurological and physiological effects that may be indicative of its effective use in the fight against sleep loss. The subjective psychological benefits of music have also been linked to chemical changes observed via hormone levels as music increased oxytocin and accordingly levels of relaxation as well as decrease negative thoughts, the study noted.
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