Most people listen to music near bedtime to calm down and prepare themselves to fall asleep. But does it really help? A recent small study investigated how music influences sleep quality. The focus of the study was on the stuck songs, in other words “earworms”, when you play a song over and over in your mind.
The study showed that your brain continues to process music even when you are asleep, especially when you catch an earworm that won’t go away at bedtime. When that happens, you have a big change that your sleep quality is going to suffer. To be more specific, people who experience “earworms” at night more than 1 time per week, are 6 times as likely to have poor sleep quality compared to people who rarely experience “earworms”.
Another interesting finding was that instrumental music is turned to lead to about twice as many earworms compared to lyrical music.
So, the main recommendation based on this study is try to avoid music before going to sleep. And if you really believe that you can’t fall asleep without music, the researchers advise to take 5 to 10 minutes to write down the tasks for the next day. In this way you’ll kill two birds with one stone: you calm down your mind about the next day and you get rid of “earworms” as your mind will be switched from music to another brain activity.
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