Listening to music before going to bed can significantly improve the sleep quality of older adults according to new analysis published on 21 April 2021 by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Music significantly improves sleep quality
Older adults who listened to music experienced significantly better sleep quality than those who did not listen to music. Older adults who listened to sedative music, which is characterized by a slow tempo, soft volume and smooth melody, experienced a greater improvement in sleep quality than those who listened to rhythmic music, which is characterized by fast tempos, loud volume and rhythmic patterns.
The researchers analyzed data from five randomized trials and the sleep quality of older adults was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a 21-point assessment that is commonly used to measure the quality and duration of sleep. Participants listened to music for 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime over a period ranging from two days to three months.
“Based on psychophysiological theory, listening to sedative music can improve sleep by modulating sympathetic nervous system activity and the release of neuroendocrine levels of cortisol, thereby lowering levels of anxiety and stress responses,” noted the study authors.
40 to 70 percent of older adults have sleep problems
Studies have shown that 40 to 70 percent of older adults have sleep problems. As we get older sleep issues increase as our sleep cycles change making it harder to get a good night’s sleep. The impact of impaired sleep could be significant and prior studies have associated sleep issues with poor quality of life and an increased risk of dementia and death.
“Music intervention is an effective strategy and is easy to administer by a caregiver or health care worker,” observed the researchers. “Music therapy might be the first line of therapy to recommend in older adults with sleep disturbances, which would reduce the need for or dependence on sedatives and sleeping medication.”
Are you having difficulty sleeping? Relax and unwind with our World Sleep Day playlist.