Music improves sleep quality in students

László Harmat, Johanna Takács, Róbert Bódizs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. This paper is a report of a study to investigate the effects of music on sleep quality in young participants with poor sleep. Background. Sleep disorders may result in fatigue, tiredness, depression and problems in daytime functioning. Music can reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, decrease anxiety, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate and may have positive effects on sleep via muscle relaxation and distraction from thoughts. Control groups have not been used in most previous studies. Methods. We used a three-group repeated measures design. Ninety-four students (aged between 19 and 28 years) with sleep complaints were studied in 2006. Participants listened for 45 minutes either to relaxing classical music (Group 1) or an audiobook (Group 2) at bedtime for 3 weeks. The control group (Group 3) received no intervention. Sleep quality was measured using the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index before the study and weekly during the intervention. Depressive symptoms in experimental group participants were measured using the Beck Depression Inventory. Results. Repeated measures anova revealed a main effect of TIME (P < 0·0001) and an interaction between TIME and GROUPS (P < 0·0001). Post hoc tests with Bonferroni correction showed that music statistically significantly improved sleep quality (P < 0·0001). Sleep quality did not improve statistically significantly in the audiobook and the control group. Depressive symptoms decreased statistically significantly in the music group (P < 0·0001), but not in the group listening to audiobooks. Conclusion. Relaxing classical music is an effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems. Nurses could use this safe, cheap and easy to learn method to treat insomnia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2008


  • Alternative therapy
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Psychology
  • Sleep
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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