Why Music Is Actually Good For Your Health
August 1st, 2017
Video: Health Benefits of Music
Most of us listen to music on a daily basis, whether it’s while we’re relaxing, working, driving, or at the gym. Some of you reading this article may even be involved in music as part of your job. While it’s something we all enjoy, have you ever thought about the health benefits of music?
In a previous post on the PepWear Blog, we shared several studies that show the academic benefits of music education for children. But it goes beyond that.
Did you know that listening to classical music can help you sleep? Or that listening to music you enjoy effects your happiness level?
Here are some specific health benefits of music and the studies that prove them.
1. Happy music makes you happier!
Research published from McGill University shows that “the pleasurable experience of listening to music releases dopamine“, also known as “the happy chemical” for the good vibes it gives us. The study shows a link between heightened positive emotions and listening to the kind of music you enjoy.
2. Music can help manage or decrease pain and anxiety
In a study conducted by researchers in Austria, patients suffering with chronic back pain after having back surgery experienced significant improvement in pain levels after following a recovery program that involved listening to music.
In a 2013 study involving patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, those who listened to music once a day “reported a significant reduction in pain and depression” compared with those who did not listen to music.
Researchers in Taiwan instructed a group of patients to listen to selected music from the evening before surgery to the second day after surgery. The patients’ levels of anxiety and pain after the surgery were significantly lower when compared to ones who had not listened to music.
Read more: Lessons I Learned In Band
3. Listening to music can boost your immune system
Yup, it turns out that listening to music can actually raise the levels of antibodies in your immune system and help your body fight bacteria and viruses. In fact, one study found that “active participation in musical activity [playing an instrument] produces a greater effect on the immune system than passive participation“.
Just one more incentive to practice on a regular basis, right?Did you know that playing a musical instrument boosts your immune system and improves your memory? Click To Tweet
4. Classical music can help you sleep better
If you’re having trouble sleeping, or you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, listen to classical music when you go to bed.
In a 2006 study of students with sleep problems, participants who listened to 45 minutes of classical music at bedtime had “statistically significantly improved sleep quality”. The same was not true of participants who listened to an audiobook or did nothing different at bedtime.
Why is this so important? As the study points out, “sleep disorders may result in fatigue, tiredness, depression and problems in daytime functioning”. Participants in the music group saw a significant decrease in depressive symptoms.
5. Music can improve your memory
The above video is by Music & Memory, a non-profit organization that brings music to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The music helps them to “reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories”.
This mission is backed up by several studies.
In a 2014 study at UT Arlington, “musicians outperformed non-musicians on working memory tasks” and had an advantage in long-term memory. In a study of dementia patients, researchers found that “compared with usual care, both singing and music listening improved mood, orientation, and remote episodic memory”.
A study involving patients recovering from a stroke found that listening to music enhanced cognitive recovery. Further, “patients who listened to their favorite music 1–2 h[ours] a day showed greater improvement in focused attention and verbal memory than patients who listened to audio books or received no listening material”.
It’s hard to ignore so many studies that prove the health benefits of music. Who knows how many other benefits we gain that just haven’t been researched yet? What is it about music that moves you?