Music Helps People Fall Asleep

APRIL 01, 2005

A little light music may be the answer to older individuals'sleeping longer. The current study built on the earlier findings that suggested quiet music diminished postoperative pain. In the study, which involved 60 individuals aged 60 to 83, half of the participants were asked to select from tapes of quiet Western or Chinese music. The group was given a training session in relaxing while listening to music. The researchers noted that individuals need up to 30 minutes to fall asleep. Therefore, 45-minute tapes were used to improve the odds that participants would fall asleep before the music ended.

During the 3-week study period, the music group participants reported a continual decrease in the time they needed to fall asleep and the length of time they felt tired the following day. The participants also reported sleeping longer and better. The control group, however, experienced no changes in sleeping quality or patterns. Reporting recently in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, the researchers said the benefits were not seen across the board. Nearly half of the participants in the music group, those with milder problems, improved enough to be categorized as "good sleepers."Individuals with more serious difficulties showed smaller improvements and reported continued problems on the amount of time needed to fall asleep.