Music is a big part of life. We listen to it every day, whether intentionally or unintentionally. From bus rides to movie theaters, gas stations, and grocery stores – we hear the sound of music everywhere we go.
Sometimes, even in the comfort of your solitude, a song may come to mind, and suddenly, you find yourself singing along to it.
Music has substantial effects on the mind and body. It can alter moods, trigger the release of hormones, stimulate the immune system, influence heart rate and breathing, and strengthen the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain.
Music, they say, heals the mind, body and soul. It is highly therapeutic for emotional, mental and physical health.
In this article, we look at some of the scientifically proven benefits of listening to music.
1. Improves Sleep Efficiency.
Relaxing music lulls the body to sleep by triggering some changes that are essential for sleep to occur.
Listening to relaxing music fine-tunes your body to get ready for that resting state, by slowing down your heart rate and breathing.
It reduces your blood pressure and triggers other physiological changes that ultimately lead to the secretion of hormones necessary for sleep.
When you listen to music before bedtime, you’re ultimately putting your body in a physically and psychologically relaxed state that will cause you to fall asleep more quickly.
Scientists have proven that music is useful for treating acute and chronic sleep disorders, and its effect becomes stronger with time, because the more you use music to lull yourself to sleep, the more your body becomes adapted to it.
2. Increases Stamina And Physical Performance.
If you’re a member of a fitness club (and you actually go), you’ve surely noticed that there’s always music playing.
Also, it’s quite common to see people wear their headphones when working out or jogging – and there’s a pretty good reason for that.
Studies have shown that music boosts energy levels and stamina during exercise. It stimulates the brain to feel the fun part of the workout and distracts you from the pain you feel from the intensity of the exercise.
In addition, if you listen to music during workouts, you’ll be more likely to stick with your routine.
3. Enhances Focus.
Scientists have shown that listening to music improves concentration and productivity. Music also adds spice to tedious tasks. It helps you concentrate on the work you have at hand, and prevents you from losing focus.
The effect of music on productivity and focus, is, however, highly relative. What works for one person, may not work for another. A song that helps one person concentrate may be a distraction for someone else.
Also, music should not be too loud, and it should not be a song that will cause you to leave your task and start singing along. When trying to maintain focus, it’s best to listen to music without lyrics.
4. Boosts Creativity.
According to research, listening to happy and lively music helps the brain come up with more creative solutions.
This is because music reduces pressure on the brain, and puts it in a relaxed state, necessary for creativity.
Of course, when it comes to defining happy music, the answer may be a bit different for everybody.
It varies from person to person, but generally, happy music refers to any music that will help you feel positive and energized.
5. Reduces Stress And Eases Anxiety.
Music has a substantial effect on our emotions, and according to findings, it can serve as a potent tool for stress management. Music not only relaxes the body; it also calms the mind and relieves it of stress.
In fact, listening to music causes the release of endorphins and chemicals in the brain that ultimately help to reduce anxiety.
For this reason, the availability and inexpensive nature of music makes it an easily accessible option for stress reduction. Again, the effects of different songs vary from person to person.
There’s no clear-cut list of relaxing music, so you have to experiment and discover what music works best for you. Also, remember that the environment matters.
So choose a calm place when trying to relax your mind.
6. Enhances Mood.
It’s a no brainer that music can easily switch one’s mood from gloomy to bubbly. Music is the perfect cure when you’re feeling blue.
Scientists have found that music performs this magic by stimulating the brain to release dopamine, the same “feel good” neurotransmitter your brain releases that makes you feel good when you get laid, or when you eat a creamy bar of chocolate.
At the same time, music suppresses the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of music you listen to.
Even if they’re not uplifting songs, the mere anticipation of the chorus or any part of the song you really enjoy, could cause a healthy surge of dopamine.
7. Relieves Pain.
Music doesn’t just effect our emotions, it can also help relieve physical pain. Basically, music affects the areas of your brain that process pain. It disrupts your brain’s thought pattern and alters the way your body reacts to pain.
Listening to calm music will also relieve you from aches and pains by slowing down your heart rate, causing your muscles to relax, and reducing tension.
8. Improves Immune Function.
Some researchers believe that music can boost the immune system.
For centuries, music has been an incredible healing tool, and researchers have found some reasons behind this.
Recent studies show that music boosts the production of antibodies and natural killer cells that help combat bacteria, viruses, and cancerous cells.
According to the research, listening to uplifting music for just 50 minutes is enough to increase the number of antibodies in the blood.
Although these studies didn’t survey different kinds of music, it is best that you listen to the types of songs you enjoy, because your personal preference of music will yield the best response.
9. It Can Ease Road Rage.
The sound of music seems to have a calming effect on drivers. Scientists suggest that listening to music while driving, keeps your mood in check, and prevents you from making decisions that could be potentially fatal.
Even during annoying traffic congestion, listening to a soothing song can help calm your nerves.
10. Makes You Eat Less.
It turns out, that listening to gentle music during meals makes people eat slower. You see, your brain takes around 20 minutes to catch up with your stomach – and gorging food down makes you end up eating more than your body needs.
By slowing down the way you eat, music helps you eat way less than you normally would; and this in turn can potentially help you lose weight.
11. Improves Vascular Health.
Scientists claim that listening to music – regardless of genre – improves vascular health. Music seems to increases blood flow to blood vessels in the body. It’s also shown to reduce blood pressure and relieve stress in cardiac patients after surgery.
12. Improves Memory.
For years, scientists have been debating about the possibility that music affects memory. In recent times, however, studies have shown that the same part of the brain that processes music and language also plays a role in memory.
If you’ve noticed, listening to certain music makes you nostalgic and brings back some memories from the past.
Researchers further suggest that the songs we listen to as teenagers or young adults make a more lasting emotional impression on our brain than the ones we hear when we become adults.
Musical nostalgia has been useful in treating people with memory loss, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
13. Assists the Aging Brain.
According to studies, listening to music or going through musical training keeps an aging brain healthy.
Essentially, music is a form of exercise to the brain; hence by listening to, or getting involved in music, older people can keep their brain active and sharp.
14. Improves Hearing.
If you happen to have ‘an ear for music,’ then you’re able to quickly catch up with the lyrics of a song, and easily pick up on sounds that others can’t.
Furthermore, being part of a band and playing musical instruments makes your ears so sharp that you can differentiate between individual sounds, even in a noisy environment.
While listening to music gives this fantastic benefit, be sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level, because loud music can damage your ears, and cause a condition called tinnitus – which is a ringing or buzzing in the ears.
15. Strengthens You Emotionally.
There are lots and lots of emotional benefits that come with listening to music. It strengthens you emotionally by exercising your nerve cells and fine-tuning your thought process.
Moreover, if you are musically talented, then you tend to be quite emotionally intelligent, and are better able to read people’s emotions through the tone of their voice.
Science has provided many facts to prove that we have much more than just an emotional connection with music.
It’s been shown that listening to music reduces stress, improves focus and productivity and boosts overall health. As you can tell, there are lots of benefits you get from merely listening to music.
So, the next time you play your favorite track, sit back, relax and enjoy it – because you’re not only feeding your ears with good music; you’re also giving your mind and body a good dose of natural therapy.
What do you think? Which of these science-backed benefits of listening to music surprised you the most?