You might have noticed that music can boost your mood or help you focus on the task at hand sometimes. It might have also helped you run that extra mile you thought you were too tired for, or fall asleep faster when your mind was restless. You might have not known, however, that these and other beneficial qualities of music on your body and mind have actually been proven by multiple studies.
Numerous studies have shown that music can relieve pain in patients with different medical conditions, partially because of its ability to act as a distraction. A study by the University of Utah Pain Research Center, in particular, found that using music to divert the patients resulted in successful pain control. The findings were published in The Journal of Pain in 2012.
Better Sleep Quality
A 2008 study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing showed that music leads to better sleep quality among students. Participants with prior sleep complaints listened to relaxing classical music. When compared to those who listened audiobooks or didn’t listen to anything at all before bed, they were able to achieve better muscle relaxation, reduced respiratory and heart rate, and decreased anxiety, among other positive results.
Researchers also proved that listening to upbeat tracks while running, biking or doing other forms of exercise leads to increased endurance. A study by the Brunel University in London found that music can boost endurance by as much as 15%, and increase energy efficiency by 1% to 3%.
Other documented physical advantages of music include the ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate, and faster recovery rates for stroke patients. Listening to happy music was even shown to dilate blood vessels, which can result in better heart health. Music can lead to faster post-exercise recovery too; and slower tracks will slow down your eating pace, making you more mindful of satiation and ultimately helping you eat less.
A psychology dissertation from the University of Gothenburg showed that listening to music on a daily basis leads to a decrease in stress hormone cortisol. The participants in the research showed the most positive results when they listened to the types of music they enjoyed.
Many people find it easier to focus on work or studying when they listen to quiet music in the background. An older study conducted by the Middlesex University in England found that background music led to better cognitive performance, helping students score better on their cognitive tests.
Lower Anxiety Levels
A study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety found that 10 one-hour massage sessions had the same long-term effect on reducing anxiety as lying down and listening to music for the same amounts of time.
Among other mental benefits, music was also shown to relax patients before and during surgery, help people perform better when under pressure, and lead to dopamine release in the brain – the feel-good chemical responsible for elevated mood.
Videos: Great Listening
Sources for this article include: