We all love listening to music, and many of us believe it can help us to fall asleep, especially when we need to relax and unwind after a stressful day. In the past, there was no scientific evidence that could support the previously mentioned benefits of music for sleep. However, new research conducted at the University of Sheffield, UK by Tabitha Trahan indicates that music indeed can stimulate sleep and even block internal and external sleep disruptors.
As we all are aware of, sleep loss is a severe problem that not only affects our physical and mental health but also has physical and economic consequences for the entire population and state. Research conducted by Tabitha Trahan indicates that music may serve as a cheap and completely natural (non-pharmaceutical) way to address our sleeping problems. The study required the participants to complete an online survey. The online poll scored musicality, sleep habits and required participants to openly reply what music helps them to fall asleep and why. The results were published in PLOS ONE, an open-access scientific journal, and clearly suggest many people in the UK use music as a sleep aid. This study helped to understand why people use music as a sleep aid and what music they believe work to address sleep problems.
In total, the respondents identified and described 14 musical genres comprising of 545 artists that help them to fall asleep. An interesting fact is that respondents that don’t have any sleep problems also use music in their everyday life to improve the quality of their sleep. Younger people with higher musical engagement are more likely to use music as a sleep aid. Based on open-text replies, the participants believe music both stimulates sleep and blocks internal or external sleep disruptors. Internal sleep disruptors can be described as anxiety, while external ones most likely involve noise.
The study wasn’t focused on drawing conclusions about music’s physiological and psychological effects and its effects on sleep but was instead aimed to investigate the participants’ belief about how music helped them sleep. Since the participants of the study were self-selected, it may be possible that the respondents were biased toward music users. However, the study still provides vital information and evidence that people use diverse types of music as a sleep aid. Music as a sleep aid isn’t only used for relaxation, but also for masking noise or unpleasant sounds, due to habit, passion for music, and lastly, mental distraction. Based on people’s motivation to reach for music as a sleep aid, we can also understand their reasons for finding it so compelling.
Co-founder of Counting Sheep and Sleepaholic