Music for Sleep…Maybe Not

Parents truly appreciate the importance of a good night’s sleep.  A recent experiment  shows that listening to music before bed-contrary to much current advice-can actually reduce your quality of sleep.

The study focused on the phenomenon of “earworms”–when a song or tune plays over and over again in a person’s mind.  Although this typically happens during waking time, the more music you listen to before bed, the higher the likelihood you’ll experience an earworm at night.  And nocturnal earworms, in turn, can cause disruptive sleep.  

What I found most interesting about this study is that almost all participants thought that music improved their sleep.  But what the study found was the opposite.  Those who listened to more music slept worse!  And most surprising to researchers, listening to instrumental music led to almost twice the number of sleep earworms!

It can be hard enough to get good sleep when you are a parent.  When the stars align and your child starts sleeping through the night, the last thing you want is to wake up repeatedly from a song in your head!

The study suggests an alternative sleep habit you can try before bed:  instead of listening to music, spend 10 minutes writing a to-do list, putting your worries and goals on paper.  A previous study showed this technique helpful in leading to faster sleep onset. 

Study press release: