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5 different ways that music benefits your health

Thursday, June 29th, 2017 | Blog
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Music is one of the best aspects of being a human being. No matter what a person’s taste is, there are a multiple genres that will suit them. Whether you love dancing around to Taylor Swift, or playing air guitar along to Led Zeppelin, it doesn’t matter because the entertainment that music provides is completely unique. The medium interacts with the human brain in truly wonderful ways.  

 

There are some less obvious benefits of music aside from being entertained though, some of which can help improve your overall health. Music won’t ever be a replacement for regular exercise and a healthy diet, but there are very minor benefits that listening to music can provide.

1. Improved Sleep Quality

It obviously depends on the kind of music you listen to - heavy metal probably won’t send you to sleep - but some genres have been linked to better quality of sleep. A study found that students who listened to classical music for 45 minutes before bed had a higher quality period of sleep. It’s also an excellent way to relax before going to bed, as slow tempo music naturally decreases your heart rate and helps regulate your breathing.

2. Music Can Relieve Pain

A study by the University of Helsinki, Finland found that specific genres of music, mainly classical and contemporary, helped relieve the pain of patients in intensive or geriatric care. It was noted that the music played at the request of patients also had a profoundly positive effect. The dopamine released by the brain as a reaction to music being played  is the reason behind the pain relief.

3. Music & Alzheimer’s

The link between music and Alzheimer’s is well known, but it isn’t that well understood. While we don’t understand how music affects the disease, there is plenty of proof of the positive effects that it can have on people. A viral video involving an Alzheimer’s patient named Henry showed him in a vegetative state before listening to one of his favourite musicians, Cab Calloway. What follows is almost hard to believe; Henry becomes much more animated, singing along to the music that is playing - shortly after he begins reminiscing about his life. Henry isn’t the only case though, there are lots of recorded examples of music positively affecting people with dementia & Alzheimer’s across the internet. You can read about one such example in our interview with Hannah Peel.

4. Improved Physical Performance

Music can actually increase your workout performance. Listening to high tempo music whilst working out can make it feel less strenuous, and therefore increase the period of time that people are able to exercise. A study conducted by Brunel University found that the participants that listened to music whilst running on a treadmill were more likely to outperform those that didn’t. So next time you decide to go to the gym, make sure you’ve got some upbeat music to accompany you.

5. Lowers Stress Levels

Amongst all the other excellent things that music can do, it has also been found that it lowers stress. A study conducted in Australia, tested two different groups of students on the effects of music on stress levels. Two groups of students were asked to perform an oral presentation; one group listened to music whilst creating the presentation, the other group did not. The first group that listened to music were found to have significantly lower stress levels, making them much calmer in the presentation.

 

There are other health benefits that can be derived from listening to music, but we felt these were some of the most interesting. Are there any health benefits that you know of? How does music affect you? Who are your favourite musicians? Let us know in the comments below.



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