You probably already instinctively knew that music is good for the soul, and by extension the mind and body, but scientists are coming up with more and more hard evidence to back up this intuition.
Numerous studies have shown that the link between health and music is real and that both playing and listening to music can have beneficial effects. Here are seven of the surprising ways that music can improve your health and well-being:
Increase Athletic Performance
One interesting piece of research in 2015 tested the performance of runners who listened. to motivational or fast paced music. The study found that those runners out-performed the group listening to calm music or no music at all.
Help to Diet
Struggling to stick to that diet? Maybe music can help… Researchers investigated what happened at a restaurant when they added relaxing music and dimmed the lights. The result was that people felt calmer and ate more slowly as a result. On average diners consumed 175 less calories under those conditions, as the slower eating gave them enough time to feel full.
A study carried out in 2016 with patients suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s showed that music was of considerable benefit. The American study found that listening to music for just 12 minutes a day for 12 weeks resulted in considerable reduction in stress among the members of the test group.
A musical experiment was carried out on 87 patients suffering from chronic back pain. Just two sessions of music therapy a day resulted in their reporting considerably less discomfort. Music can also change how we perceive the passing of time, so a period of time while experiencing pain can be made to seem to pass more quickly.
Learning a musical instrument has been found to teach the brain how to learn more effectively. Meanwhile patients suffering from dementia have shown remarkable improvements in mood and quality of life when their favourite music is played to them.
A study has found that playing 45 minutes of soothing music before bedtime can lead to some major benefits. People fell asleep faster and slept for longer and felt that they enjoyed a better-quality night’s sleep as well. Further testing found that people enjoyed longer REM sleep too, which is associated with psychological and emotional health.
Most of us are already very familiar with the idea that music can boost our levels of happiness, but a 2013 study put an official stamp on it. Participants in this study said that ‘arousal and mood regulation’ and ‘self-awareness’ were the two primary beneficial effects of music that they experienced. Classical and chilled out music have also been shown to lift feelings of depression.