For most, by its nature, classical music is certainly among the easiest to listen to, yet not many of us choose to listen to it regularly in favour of our other favourite genres that many of us couldn’t imagine going a day without. Studies show, however, that we may want to listen to classical music more often when assembling our daily playlist as it has been shown to improve sleep quality and relieve symptoms of depression among other benefits.
The Two Week Challenge
Back in April of 2013 I felt inspired for a challenge after watching the film ‘Liberal Arts’ on Netflix. The plot of Liberal Arts is irrelevant to this article -although for those that are curious it centres around a college alumni who visits his alma mater only to fall unexpectedly in love with a student at the college -but a theme presented within the film is worth drawing attention towards. The theme is the power in listening to classical music, specifically its ability to completely reshape the way that you feel and look at life.
The challenge I embarked upon was to listen to nothing but classical music for two weeks, something that may seem easy enough, but was actually quite challenging as a progressive house, hip-hop and pop fan. You can read about my two weeks with classical music HERE.
Before continuing with this article, I challenge all of you to play some classical music as you continue to read this article and browse through the rest of our site. If you don’t have any classical music at your fingertips, go to free websites such as 8tracks.com to browse through an assortment of user created playlists ranging across every genre.
Classical Music To Improve The Way You Sleep
A 2006 study conducted at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary investigated the effects of music on the quality of sleep attained by young adult participants struggling with poor sleep and insomnia. Within the study, 94 students with sleep complaints between the ages of 19 and 28 were broken into 3 groups:
- Group 1: Listened to 45 minutes of classical music at bedtime.
- Group 2: Listened to 45 minutes of an audio book at bedtime.
- Group 3: The control group, received no intervention.
Over the 3 week study the Pittsburg Sleep Quality index was used to measure sleep quality, while the Beck Depression Inventory was used to monitor depressive symptoms. The study concluded that both sleep quality improved and depressive symptoms decreased in statistically significant ways within the group listening to classical music, while no substantial change was shown in either the audiobook or control group. (1)
Classical Music To Lower Blood Pressure
Another study presented in 2008 looked at 48 patients between the ages of 45 and 70 who were all on medications to combat high blood pressure. Of the 48 subjects, 28 listened to 30 minutes of classical music while simultaneously doing slow, controlled abdominal breathing. The remaining 20 patients served as the control group in the experiment.
All participants underwent ABP monitoring prior to the study and were monitored for 4 weeks after the study’s conclusion. The study found a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure among those who had been listening to the music daily, while no significant changes were found in those not listening to the music. (2)
Classical Music To Calm You Down
Dr. Kevin Labar of Duke University has stated that classical music can produce a calming effect by releasing pleasure-inducing dopamine and inhibiting the release of stress hormones. (3) Once in a calmer state, one is often able to think more clearly and be in an overall better mood. I personally have experienced this on numerous occasions, particularly when trying to get work done. If I ever find myself over thinking something, I will usually tune into some classical music and let it replace the incessant chatter that my mind never seems to run out of.
Over the two weeks that I spent listening to only classical music, I found myself in an overall much calmer state and as a result had a higher level of patience in the face of things that I normally would be inclined to overreact to.
What is your experience with classical music? Do you already regularly listen to it? If so, what are some of your favourite places to listen to it? I’m regularly looking to expand my music library and would love to hear your suggestions.
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