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5 Reasons Why People Who Listen To Classical Music Have Better Sleep

5 Reasons Why People Who Listen To Classical Music Have Better Sleep

Most people know that listening to classical music reduces stress, boosts the immune system, improves focus in learning, and can even help to lower blood pressure. But what about those who are suffering from insomnia? Can this wonderful music really help you to have a long and restful sleep? Here are 5 reasons why these classical music fans get better sleep and how they exploit it to sleep right through the night – every insomniac’s dream!

1. They know which pieces and composers to choose

People in the know have realized that not all classical music is suitable for better sleep. They would run a mile from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, for example, as the booming cannons would wake them up. They tend to favor Mozart, Brahms, Handel, and Bach because they can help the mind relax with their rhythms which will help to slow the brainwaves.

Experts say that music with a regular rhythm and with about 60 -80 BPM (beats per minute), low pitches, and relaxing soothing tunes work best.

Classical sleep inducing pieces are Bach’s Air on the G string, Debussy’s Clair de Lune, and the Adagietto in Mahler’s 5th Symphony. Listen to Valentina Lisitsa playing Chopin’s Berceuse in D flat opus 57 here on the video but promise me you will not fall asleep before finishing reading this post!

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2. They know the music will help their bodies to relax

A racing mind full of stress and anxiety will lead to increased heartbeats which will make sleep impossible. They have read the research about listening to slower music which can subconsciously slow down breathing and the heart becomes calmer too. They are now in a sort of semi-meditative state and the whole body begins to relax. That is all they need to get off to sleep and they never have to count thousands of sheep. If you are an insomniac, follow their example.

A study by Taiwan researchers has found that with older adults, listening to music significantly improved their sleep quality and there was less need to rely on sleep aids and other hacks to help them get a good night’s rest.

3. They know all about where to get their music

They know all the radio and TV channels which are broadcasting classical music, day and night, such as AccuRadio. Check out the free app on Classical KUSC – they have been broadcasting since 1947. This app has a sleep timer and you can adjust that to whatever you want. If you put it at 20 minutes, it will turn itself off when you are, hopefully, sound asleep.

You can also download and save classical music files from various sources on the Internet. See what is available. I found the Schoenbrunn Palace Concerts site in Vienna which has a good selection of daily concerts for downloading and saving on your portable MP3 or iPod.

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4. They know the healing power of music

They know that illness and feeling unwell will probably disturb their sleep more than usual. The healing power of music is well documented in scientific circles.

Arthritis can keep many a person awake at night. In one study reported in The Journal of Advanced Nursing, researchers found that music helped reduce arthritic pain by 21% and depression by 25%.

Similarly, stroke patients in Finland made significant advances in memory and attention span when they listened to music (classical or jazz). They were doing much better than the other group who were not listening to any music.

Watch and listen to the wonderful music of Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op.18, 1st Movement which is a favorite piece of Cinda Yager who listened to it often when recovering from surgery. She describes the effects the music had on her recovery:

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“Chamber music can be anything but quiet and soothing, of course, but what I love is the transparency of the lines. I imagine them representing different systems in my body and how they work together cooperatively to create something beautiful.”- Cinda Yager

5. They know that music can help block out background noise

They know those yappy dogs and traffic noise, not to mention burglar alarms and noisy neighbors. They can, of course, get used to them and tune them out. However, this may mean sleepless nights while they do so. Similarly, if they are not accustomed to a very quiet rural environment, that may also disturb their sleep as it is too quiet!
The best way to cover up all this noise is to listen to classical music, especially if you know it well. In other words, we tend to sleep best when we’re surrounded by familiar sounds. All the better if it is comforting and beautiful sounds which will never bother or irritate you.

If you suffer from sleep disorders or insomnia, you are certainly not a minority. It is estimated that 40 million Americans have sleep problems and this is a global problem as well.

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Maybe it is time you started to try listening to classical music more often and make it part of your bedtime routine. Sweet dreams!

“I swear they are all beautiful- Every one that sleeps is beautiful.” – Walt Whitman

Featured photo credit: Classical Music Wallpaper/ Free Wallpaper Full HD via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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