5 Reasons Why People Who Listen To Classical Music Have Better Sleep

Most people know that listening to classical music reduces stress, boosts the immune system, improves focus in learning, and can even help to lower blood pressure. But what about those who are suffering from insomnia?

Can this wonderful music really help you to have a long and restful sleep? Here are 5 reasons why these classical music fans get better sleep and how they exploit it to sleep right through the night – every insomniac’s dream!

1. They know which pieces and composers to choose

People in the know have realized that not all classical music is suitable for better sleep. They would run a mile from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, for example, as the booming cannons would wake them up. They tend to favor Mozart, Brahms, Handel, and Bach because they can help the mind relax with their rhythms which will help to slow the brainwaves.

Experts say that music with a regular rhythm and with about 60 -80 BPM (beats per minute), low pitches, and relaxing soothing tunes work best.

Classical sleep inducing pieces are Bach’s Air on the G string, Debussy’s Clair de Lune, and the Adagietto in Mahler’s 5th Symphony. Listen to Valentina Lisitsa playing Chopin’s Berceuse in D flat opus 57 here on the video but promise me you will not fall asleep before finishing reading this post!

2. They know the music will help their bodies to relax

A racing mind full of stress and anxiety will lead to increased heartbeats which will make sleep impossible. They have read the research about listening to slower music which can subconsciously slow down breathing and the heart becomes calmer too. They are now in a sort of semi-meditative state and the whole body begins to relax. That is all they need to get off to sleep and they never have to count thousands of sheep. If you are an insomniac, follow their example.

A study by Taiwan researchers has found that with older adults, listening to music significantly improved their sleep quality and there was less need to rely on sleep aids and other hacks to help them get a good night’s rest.

3. They know all about where to get their music

They know all the radio and TV channels which are broadcasting classical music, day and night, such as AccuRadio. Check out the free app on Classical KUSC – they have been broadcasting since 1947. This app has a sleep timer and you can adjust that to whatever you want. If you put it at 20 minutes, it will turn itself off when you are, hopefully, sound asleep.

You can also download and save classical music files from various sources on the Internet.

4. They know the healing power of music

They know that illness and feeling unwell will probably disturb their sleep more than usual. The healing power of music is well documented in scientific circles.

Arthritis can keep many a person awake at night. In one study reported in The Journal of Advanced Nursing, researchers found that music helped reduce arthritic pain by 21% and depression by 25%.

Similarly, stroke patients in Finland made significant advances in memory and attention span when they listened to music (classical or jazz). They were doing much better than the other group who were not listening to any music.

Watch and listen to the wonderful music of Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op.18, 1st Movement which is a favorite piece of Cinda Yager who listened to it often when recovering from surgery. She describes the effects the music had on her recovery:

“Chamber music can be anything but quiet and soothing, of course, but what I love is the transparency of the lines. I imagine them representing different systems in my body and how they work together cooperatively to create something beautiful.”- Cinda Yager


5. They know that music can help block out background noise

They know those yappy dogs and traffic noise, not to mention burglar alarms and noisy neighbors. They can, of course, get used to them and tune them out. However, this may mean sleepless nights while they do so. Similarly, if they are not accustomed to a very quiet rural environment, that may also disturb their sleep as it is too quiet!

The best way to cover up all this noise is to listen to classical music, especially if you know it well. In other words, we tend to sleep best when we’re surrounded by familiar sounds. All the better if it is comforting and beautiful sounds which will never bother or irritate you.

If you suffer from sleep disorders or insomnia, you are certainly not a minority. It is estimated that 40 million Americans have sleep problems and this is a global problem as well.

Maybe it is time you started to try listening to classical music more often and make it part of your bedtime routine. Sweet dreams!
“I swear they are all beautiful- Every one that sleeps is beautiful.” – Walt Whitman

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Great women composers in honor of Women's History Month

Today there's a lot of debate about the role of women in classical music. Yet from Hildegard in the 12th century through to the present day, women have made a significant contribution which has often been overlooked.

Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) Louise Farrenc received piano lessons from masters such as Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Following her marriage, she interrupted her studies to play concerts with her husband, the flautist Aristide Farrenc. Despite her brilliance as a performer and composer, she was paid less than her male counterparts for nearly a decade. Only after the triumphant premiere of her Nonet for wind and strings - in which the violinist Joseph Joachim took part -did she demand and receive equal pay.

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) Sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny composed more than 460 works, including a piano trio and several books of piano pieces and songs. A number of her works were originally published under Felix's name. Her piano works are often in the style of songs and carry the title, ‘Song without Words.’ This style of piece was successfully developed by Felix, though some assert that Fanny preceded him in the genre.

Clara Schumann (1819-1896) The wife of Robert Schumann and herself one of the most distinguished pianists of her time, Clara enjoyed a 61-year concert career. Her father Friedrich Wieck taught her to compose and she wrote her Piano Concerto at the age of 14. She largely lost confidence in her composing in her mid-30s. ‘I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea;’ she said, ‘a woman must not desire to compose — there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?’

Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) Harrow-born Clarke is best known for her chamber music for the viola, which she wrote for herself and the all-female chamber ensembles she played in. Her works - including a Viola Sonata - were strongly influenced by several trends in 20th century classical music, particularly the impressionism of Claude Debussy. Clarke knew many leading composers of the day, including Ravel, with who whom her work has been compared.

Read More at Classic FM

8 Reasons You Should Listen More To Classical Music

1. It makes your brain work better

At Northumbria University (UK), a research team performed some experiments on students’ brain functioning when doing tests while they listened to Vivaldi’s Spring concerto. They were answering faster and better than when they listened to the sadder Autumn concerto. The conclusion was that brain activity is improved when listening to pleasant and arousing stimuli. If you want to refresh your memory on the uplifting Vivaldi Spring concerto, you can listen to it here.

2. It helps people with dementia

If a loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is well worth noting the studies showing how music can help them to regain memories and enormously improve their quality of life. Watch the video here of a man who was brought back to life by listening to music he loved in the past. If your loved one was particularly fond of any music, classical or non, they can be enormously helped by listening to the same music. The explanation is that because music affects many parts of the brain, it can reawaken those parts of the brain not affected by dementia. This is especially true when the music is linked to a particular event or memory. It is fascinating to read the book by the late neurologist Oliver Sacks called Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain which explains the phenomenon and recounts many moving stories.

“People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can respond to music when nothing else reaches them. Alzheimer’s can totally destroy the ability to remember family members or events from one’s own life—but musical memory somehow survives the ravages of disease, and even in people with advanced dementia, music can often reawaken personal memories and associations that are otherwise lost.”- Oliver Sacks

3. It can help you sleep better

There are many studies on the beneficial effects of classical music on sleep quality. One study shows that a group of students who listened to relaxing classical music were getting much better sleep quality than when they were exposed to an audio book, for example. Researchers are convinced that music is better than verbal stimuli for the purposes of relaxing body and mind before sleep.

4. It can calm you down when driving

Are you prone to road rage at times? The German government is worried about the high number of road accidents on the country’s motorways (2.4 million annually). Many of these accidents are caused by aggressive driving and road rage. To counteract this, the German Ministry of Transport has released a CD for drivers which features Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21. played by the Minister himself! He hopes that the soothing effects of music will calm drivers down. (Fun fact: There is no word in German for road rage). Let us hope they will not need it now.

5. It can help reduce pain

Various studies show that listening to music can reduce post operative and chronic pain especially after surgery. It will never replace painkillers of course but will be a great help in reducing depression, disability and pain. The reason seems to be that it can help to tune out the pain by increasing the brain’s reward center, thereby alleviating the sensation of pain.

“One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.”- Bob Marley

6. It can help you express your emotions.

“If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it.” – William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Music can express what we may never be capable of verbally and thank goodness for that. We may have to struggle with anger, love, depression and many other emotions and feelings. When we connect with music, we can begin to cope. It helps us to be more honest with ourselves. Research at The Southern Methodist University shows that when listening to classical music, undergraduate students were more communicative and open about their emotions. Everyone has their favorite playlist to help them when they feel romantic, lazy or exhausted. Listening to classical music helps you express your emotions in unique ways.

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” – Sigmund Freud

7. It can help blood pressure

It is fascinating to discover that cardiologists have found a connection between Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and our blood pressure levels. They found that this piece and many other classical music pieces are in natural sync with our own body’s natural rhythm and that helps to keep blood pressure at optimal levels. Professor Bernardi at the University of Pavia in Italy has done some interesting research on this.

8. It can help people on diets

You now how difficult it is to eat slowly, chew your food properly, and really enjoy it. Playing soft music and dimming lights in dining areas has been found to help people enjoy their food more and eat less! This is the main result of a study carried out at Cornell University. On the other hand, places like fast food joints use brighter lights to encourage fast eating and more profit for the business. You can improve the way you experience food by being more intentional in the way you eat, including playing soft music during meals.

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