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The rhythm of the night: How music can help insomnia

Insomnia

Insomnia
  • Thoughts and restlessness are a product of stress and worry and lead to a common problem: Insomnia.
  • Being unable to sleep can cause further mental health issues like chronic anxiety and depression due to more time spent lying awake and worrying.
  • The world has witnessed a surge in insomnia due to the ongoing pandemic and its offshoots like joblessness and health worries of our loved ones.

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The rhythm of the night: How music can help insomnia

The rhythm of the night: How music can help insomnia

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/music-for-insomnia

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

Music And Sleep

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.

A Sonic Environment To Doze Off

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.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)

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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Music for better productivity and focus
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Familiar songs are best for focus

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.

Lyrics can be distracting

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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Happy/sad music

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. 

Ambient noise can improve creativity

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.

Music and personality

Different genres correspond to our personality. For instance:

  • Blues and Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
  • Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease
  • Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle
  • Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease

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Effects of music on productivity
Effects of music on productivity
  • Listening to music with lyrics is distracting for most people. It’s best to avoid it when working on tasks that require focus or the learning of new information.
  • Listening to
Music and the brain

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.