Poor sleep quality can cause stress, impaired cognitive capacity, and weakened physical health. A meta-analysis of five studies investigating the impact of music therapy on the sleep quality of 288 adults, age 60 years and older, revealed that older adults who listened to music experienced significantly better sleep quality than those who did not.
The theory is that slow melodic music down-regulates the stress response and lowers anxiety. Other research shows that soothing music slows the body rhythm, reducing the fight-or-flight stress response and inducing deep relaxation. Calming music was found to be more beneficial than rhythm-centered music. The most effective daily dose is 30-60 minutes, and the most effective duration was over 4 weeks of consistent exposure to relaxing music to maximize sleep quality improvement.
Takeaway: Listening to calming music may be an effective strategy to improve sleep quality.
Source Chia-Te Chen et al., Effect of Music Therapy on Improving Sleep Quality in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Mar. 18, 2021.