Music holds the key to a good night's rest, scientists say

Music holds the key to a good night’s rest – and soothing tunes are the most beneficial, scientists say

  • Scientists from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan made discovery 
  • They found that older adults who listen to music before bed had better sleep  
  • Melodies with a slow beat worked best, according to the new study 

If you find it difficult getting a good night’s sleep, listening to music may help, scientists suggest.

But be sure to tune in to the dulcet tones of Norah Jones or Enya – as soothing music was found to be the most beneficial.

Scientists from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan found that older adults who listen to music before bed experienced better sleep than those who don’t.

Melodies with a slow beat worked best, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

Scientists from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan found that older adults who listen to music before bed experienced better sleep than those who don’t

In an analysis of five trials involving nearly 300 people, researchers found older adults who listen to music experience significantly better sleep quality than those who don’t. 

The paper reads: ‘According to previous studies, 40-70 per cent of older adults are estimated to have sleep problems.

‘The results of our analysis revealed that older adults assigned to the group receiving music therapy reported significantly better sleep quality than the control group that did not listen to music.

‘We found that listening to sedative music provided a significantly greater improvement in sleep quality than the rhythm-centred music.’ They suggest the reason sedative music may be preferable is that it reduces nervous system activity, promoting deep relaxation and calmness.

Melodies with a slow beat worked best, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

In the study, sedative music was characterised by a slow tempo of 60-80 beats per minute, a soft volume and smooth melody.

Meanwhile rhythmic music was classified as having fast tempos, a loud volume and rhythmic patterns.

The researchers, from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, said: ‘Music intervention is an effective strategy and is easy to administer by a caregiver or healthcare worker.

‘Music therapy might be the first line of therapy to recommend in older adults with sleep disturbances, which would reduce the need for dependence on sedatives and sleeping medication.’

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