Serene Sounds May Help Older Adults Slip Into Slumber

May 23, 2021 Updated: May 24, 2021

If you’re over 60 and having trouble sleeping, listening to music before going to bed may help improve your slumber.

A new study suggests that incorporating soothing music into your bedtime routine could prove beneficial for older adults battling insomnia. It offers a low-cost, non-intrusive option if you’re looking to fall asleep faster and stay in slumber for longer periods.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that when adults aged 60 or older listened to calming—rather than rhythmic—music for at least four weeks, they slept better during that period.

In other words, you’ll want to leave your James Brown on the shelf and opt for some spa sounds. The goal isn’t to dance and nod your head, but to abandon energy and rhythm to reach a state of pure relaxation.

The tempo should be slow with a smooth melody, if it’s melodic at all. These sounds may help calm anxiety, slow your heart rate and breathing, reduce blood pressure, and prime your body for sleep.

Better sleep is associated with several positive mental and physical health outcomes.

Roughly 40–70 percent of adults more than 60 years old report sleep problems, while approximately 40 percent experience some form of insomnia or sleep disturbances.

After reviewing five studies with 288 participants, researchers determined that listening to 30–60 minutes of calming music for roughly a month offered the best result. So, if you give it try for a few nights and notice no difference, keep at it: It may take a few weeks to adjust to those new conditions.

Including serene sounds into your sleep routine could serve as another mode of relaxation to help you sleep better. After your evening routine, crawl into bed and put the music on at a low volume. Set a 60-minute timer and let the sounds take you into dreamland.

Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.