We live in a world full of stress, conflict, and sleeplessness. If you feel like you’re overly stressed, or not getting enough sleep, you’re certainly not alone. Indeed, you’re surrounded by similarly stressed and sleep deprived company. More than one in three adults (35 percent) are consistently sleep deprived, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Comparably, one in three people feel they are living with extreme stress, according to the American Institute of Stress. Sounds pretty dire. But, fortunately, we have easy access to a completely safe, highly effective stress remedy (which can also alleviate sleeplessness). No, it’s not prescription medication. In fact, studies have demonstrated that when it comes to reducing anxiety in certain high-stress situations (such as pre-surgery) this treatment can be even more effective than prescription medicine. What can help us ameliorate our stress and sleep deprivation? Peaceful music.
5 types of peaceful music
In a large-scale review of 400 research papers in the neurochemistry of music, researchers confirmed that playing and listening to music has clear benefits for both mental and physical health. Specifically, the review linked music to improving the body’s immune system function and to reducing levels of stress. Here are five types of music scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and/or improve sleep quality.
One study investigating how different types of music help cope with stress identified classical music as the most effective musical stress reliever. Classical music significantly reduces anger and anxiety, and increases relaxation.
Here is a sample of peaceful music, classical style, for stress reduction and sleep enhancement.
A March 2017 study published in Scientific Reports compared how listening to artificial versus natural environmental sounds effected participants. The study’s results linked natural sounds to an increase in the parasympathetic (“rest-digest”) response. Natural sounds also resulted in a decrease in the body’s sympathetic (“fight or flight”) response. Conversely, artificial sounds incited an increase in the sympathetic response. Another study on how music affects stress found the lowest levels of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) in participants listening to the sound of rippling water.
Try this peaceful music infused with the calming sounds of nature.
Music at 60 beats per minute
“Reputable studies find that music with a rhythm of about 60 beats a minute helps people fall asleep,” says Michael Breus,Ph.D, sleep expert and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Simple Rules for Losing Weight While You Sleep. In the same WebMD article, Breus goes on to explain: “As you are falling asleep, your heart rate begins to slow, and starts to move toward that 60-beats-per-minute range.” In other words, music at the beat of our average resting heart rate encourages our heart rate to sync up with that resting rate, and relax in the process.
Give this peaceful music, with a rhythm of 60 beats per minute, a listen.
There is a specific musical scale linked to relaxation and composed in some form by most cultures throughout history. This is the pentatonic scale — the musical scale with five notes per octave. (We modern humans more often hear music made on the heptatonic — seven notes per octave — scale). From Europe to South America to Africa, pentatonic scale sings through ancient folk music all around the world. There’s something relaxing — something deeply comforting in that ancient familiarity. Indeed, studies reveal listening to pentatonic music can significantly reduce stress hormone levels.
Here’s some peaceful music played on a harp tuned to the pentatonic scale.
If any of this peaceful music helped soothe your stress and anxiety and/or helped improve your sleep quality, share them with people you love! We can invite peacefulness into our lives through the power of sound. And there might be no better gift to give than that of peace … of mind and body.