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!
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.
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:
“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.
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