Music and Sleep: How Music Affects Brain Health and Sleep Quality in Older Adults

Published on August 2, 2023

Music and Brain Heath in Older Adults
Research has shown that listening to music has numerous positive health benefits, especially regarding brain health. Listening to music triggers the release of several neurochemicals, including pleasure-inducing dopamine, immunity-boosting serotonin, and oxytocin which fosters the ability to connect with others. Music therapy is often used to evoke memories, improve cognitive skills, and slow age-related cognitive decline in older adults.

Here are just some other ways music can improve the brain health of older adults:

  • Reduce stress
  • Induce relaxation
  • Treat mental illness
  • Lower anxiety

Music can also help older adults with stroke recovery, pain management, and sleep quality.

How Music Can Improve Sleep in Older Adults
A good night’s sleep is essential to our physical and mental health, especially as we age.   Unfortunately, older adults often face difficulty falling or staying asleep at night.  According to the Sleep Foundation, as we age, changes in our brain and the production of hormones can lead to disruptions in the sleep-wake cycle.

In addition, poor quality sleep in older adults has been linked to cognitive decline, memory problems, and increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. If you’re looking for an enjoyable way to reduce stress, improve your health and help you sleep like a baby, music may be the answer!

Music can be a natural sleep aid for older adults by reducing stress and calming the mind, two common factors affecting sleep patterns. Researchers have found that listening to calming, slow-tempo music before bedtime can improve sleep quality and duration in older adults.

Ways to Incorporate Sleep in Your Everyday Life
Incorporating music into your sleep routine is easier than you think.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Create a personalized playlist of songs that relax you
  • Avoid loud and fast-tempo music in the evening
  • Play soft music in the evening while you get ready for bed to help you transition to bedtime

Once you create a routine that works for you, make it a habit, and follow it every night, evening rituals will teach your body to wind down and relax for sleep.

Lullabies aren’t just for babies! Music has always been and will continue to be an essential part of our lives.  Music can significantly impact brain health and sleep quality in older adults. Music’s ability to improve mood, evoke memories, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function makes it a powerful tool for promoting a restful night’s sleep and maintaining brain health.

For older adults with insomnia, or cognitive decline, incorporating music into their sleep routine is an easy, safe solution for those struggling with falling and staying asleep.

Source: IlluminAge AgeWise