Listening to music is a commonly accepted means of reducing stress and enhancing relaxation, and while studies exist detailing music’s effect on the human mind while awake, there is a lack of study on its effect during sleep. By forgoing research on music’s effect on sleep, the possibility of improving sleep through non-pharmaceutical means is reduced, thus imposing more expensive, side-effect ridden treatments onto people suffering from sleep problems. Since studies show that music is a positive stimulus to human emotion, one raises questions of how emotion changes during times of inactive thought and analysis of surroundings. This connection between human emotion and music inspires promise of enhancing sleep for people with both chronic and temporary sleep abnormalities. By introducing ambient music to young adults prior to sleep, or by slowly introducing music during sleep, one enhances sleep quality while minimizing negative consequences.
Ambient Music’s Effect on Sleep in Young Adults
First, one must identify and classify problems associated with sleep loss. Most commonly, “sleep disorders can result in tiredness, fatigue, depression, greater anxiety, irritability, pain sensitivity, muscle tremors, immunosuppression, and lack of daytime alertness” (Lai, & Good, 2005). As a result, those experiencing sleep issues are plagued with continuing problems, often with no simple solution available. Since “sleep quality is a very important factor in quality of life,” a significant amount of research is devoted to the treatment of sleep disorders (Harmat, Takacs, & Bodizs, 2008). Such research has lead to the development of pharmaceutical solutions; however, medicinal solutions may not always be necessary, cost effective, or desired. Pharmaceutical solutions also “cause daytime residual effects, tolerance, dependence, altered sleep stages and rebound insomnia,” therefore making them undesirable to some people (Lai et al., 2005).
With pharmaceutical treatments leading to unwanted outcomes, other methods of enhancing sleep are made more attractive. By eliminating stress prior to and during sleep, pre-sleep arousal is diminished and the quality of sleep is enhanced, thereby reducing fatigue and other related symptoms of sleep deprivation (Niet, Tiemens, Lendemeijer, & Hutschemaekers, 2009). The study of music in stress reduction “shows that music can influence human emotions and treatment outcome in a positive way.” (Niet et al., 2009). This association between music and stress reduction “has [also] been found to reduce circulating noradrenalin, which is associated with sleep onset,” therefore making it reasonable to further investigate music as a cheap, side-effect free treatment of common sleep problems (Lai et al., 2005).
Prior studies on music and sleep are uncommon, but found “the magnitude of difference between groups [listening to music and not listening to music] was clinically significant and...