Being chased to sleep with a catchy song while listening to music in bed at night is a rare occurrence. Despite initial skepticism, the influence is seen to a significant degree in instrumental music.
Before retiring to bed, many individuals like to listen to soothing music. This, however, may not always be beneficial, as Baylor University researchers headed by Michael K. Scullin write in the journal Psychological Science.
In other instances, the melodies seem to impair sleep later - even though the listener feels more relaxed subjectively. That seems to be the case, particularly in the case of instrumental music.
The scientists began their research by polling almost 200 individuals about their sleep quality. They also wanted to know how often and at what times of day individuals listened to this music. They found that individuals who listened to a lot of music before bed reported poor sleep and were often fatigued throughout the day, compared to those who were not die-hard music lovers. Additionally, they complained more often about "catchy songs" - bits of music that stuck in their minds. They even awoke often at night with the tunes playing in their ears. Surprisingly, this tendency was more apparent when individuals were exposed to instrumental music.
To test the survey's findings scientifically, Scullin and his colleagues next invited 50 young people to spend one night in a sleep laboratory. Initially, participants were permitted to listen to three distinct pieces of music. They should then relax. The researchers chose three songs for the audio sample: Journey's "Don't stop believing," Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call me maybe," and Taylor Swift's "Shake it off." Half the participants heard the works, while the other half did not.
Around a quarter of the test, participants awoke in the middle of the night with a catchy song. Aside from sleeping less deeply and having more brain wave patterns linked with memory consolidation, the individuals also slept less deeply. However, even though the test participants reported feeling calmer after listening to the music than before, the results remained the same.Similar to the survey, instrumental music had a more pronounced impact in the sleep lab. It is unclear why this is the case, according to the experts. A catchy melody may have been even easier to come by for those who sang along to famous songs since they immediately added the words to their minds. As a result of this fact alone it is difficult to explain why instrumental music with no words is becoming more disruptive to sleep.