The music that helps people sleep and the reasons they believe it works: A mixed methods analysis of online survey reports

Trahan, Tabitha and Durrant, Simon J. and Müllensiefen, Daniel and Williamson, Victoria J. (2018) The music that helps people sleep and the reasons they believe it works: A mixed methods analysis of online survey reports. PLoS ONE, 13 (11). ISSN 1932-6203

Full content URL: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.13...

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Abstract

Sleep loss is a widespread problem with serious physical and economic consequences. Music can impact upon physical, psychological and emotional states, which may explain anecdotal reports of its success as an everyday sleep aid. However, there is a lack of systematic data on how widely it is used, why people opt for music as a sleep aid, or what music works; hence the underlying drivers to music-sleep effects remain unclear. We investigated music as a sleep aid within the general public via a mixed methods data online survey (n = 651) that scored musicality, sleep habits, and open text responses on what music helps sleep and why. In total, 62% of respondents stated that they used music to help them sleep. They reported fourteen musical genres comprising 545 artists. Linear modelling found stress, age, and music use as significant predictors of sleep quality (PSQI) scores. Regression tree modelling revealed that younger people with higher musical engagement were significantly more likely to use music to aid sleep. Thematic analysis of the open text responses generated four themes that described why people believe music helps sleep: music offers unique properties that stimulate sleep (Provide), music is part of a normal sleep routine (Habit), music induces a physical or mental state conducive to sleep (State), and music blocks an internal or external stimulus that would otherwise disrupt sleep (Distract). This survey provides new evidence into the relationship between music and sleep in a population that ranged widely in age, musicality, sleep habits and stress levels. In particular, the results highlight the varied pathways of effect between music and sleep. Diversity was observed both in music choices, which reflected idiosyncratic preferences rather than any consistent musical structure, and in the reasons why music supports good sleep, which went far beyond simple physical/mental relaxation.

Keywords:sleep, music, mixed methods
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:34207
Deposited On:07 Jan 2019 10:55

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