The rhythm of the night: How music can help insomnia
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Music of various minimalistic and calm genres has the ability to silence any sleep-preventing thoughts, with the positive distraction of music being safer and as much effective as a sleep medication.
Ambient beats, dreamy landscapes and delicate strains of the piano or the sitar (an ancient Indian guitar) naturally imbues positive mental states, infusing rhythmic color and emotions and creating hypnotic pulses that promote sleep.
Though any slow music can promote sleep (provided it has around 60 to 80 beats per minute) classical music goes further and even impacts the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’ of the body, which is responsible for resting and digesting food.
Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes, 21 solo piano pieces that transform the mind into a dream state, are masterpiece compositions that even mimic the oncoming of sleep by ending without any ending, similar to how one never registers the exact moment one falls asleep.
Whether it is an eight-hour soundscape on Headspace, or a Sleep Whispers podcast that tell stories in a whispering mode to calm and hypnotize the brain, the sonorous format used is called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response(ASMR) that uses sonic triggers to induce euphoria and relaxation in the brain, pushing it towards a dream state.
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It’s best to listen to music you are familiar with if you need intense focus for a project.
New music is surprising; since you don’t know what to expect, you are inclined to listen closely to see what comes next.
For activities that don’t require concentration, music with lyrics has some benefits. But with immersive tasks, lyrics are especially destructive to our focus.
Trying to engage in language-related tasks ( e.g. writing ) while listening to lyrics would be akin to holding a conversation while another person talks over you… while also strumming a guitar.
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Our brains respond differently to happy or sad music.
One study revealed that participants interpreted a neutral expression as happy or sad to match the tone of the music they heard.
A moderate noise level is ideal to improve our creativity. It increases the processing difficulty which stimulates abstract processing, leading to higher creativity.
High noise levels impair our creative thinking because we feel overwhelmed and struggle to process information properly.
Different genres correspond to our personality. For instance:
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Music has a real impact on human emotions and perception. Music activates different areas of the brain in different people, but there are general brain and mood patterns revealed by music research.
For the most part, research suggests that listening to music can improve your efficiency, creativity and happiness in terms of work-related tasks.