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Study Finds How People Over 60 Can Improve Their Quality Of Sleep

Abby Moore
Editorial Operations Manager
By Abby Moore
Editorial Operations Manager
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
Image by Rawpixel / iStock
April 26, 2021

The sleep struggle is real—especially for those over the age of 60 who are more prone to insomnia. Thankfully, researchers have figured out a simple bedtime hack that can help. 

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society says that listening to calming music at least 30 minutes before bedtime can improve sleep quality in people over 60.

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The results came from a combination of multiple randomized control trials (five, to be exact) with 288 total participants. Each trial found that listening to calming music for at least four weeks can be a safe and effective way to improve sleep quality in adults 60 years and older.

What is "calming" music?

The studies compared the effects of calming vs. rhythmic music on sleep quality. And while calming music seemed to act as more of a sleep aid, both genres were still more effective than falling asleep without music. 

But what exactly is the distinction between rhythmic and calming music? According to the study, calming music has a slower tempo and a smoother melody, whereas rhythmic music tends to be louder and have a faster tempo. (Think classical vs. pop music.) 

How does it work?

Listening to relaxing music for at least 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime helps to promote better sleep by slowing your heart rate and breathing pace while also lowering blood pressure—all of which help decrease stress levels and anxiousness

While listening to music before bed may feel calming in the moment, don't be surprised if you still need a cup of coffee or a midday nap for the first few days. According to the findings, the actual benefits on sleep quality may not show up for at least four weeks. 

So, make sure you have your calming bedtime playlist queued and ready to go—consistency is key here. 

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Abby Moore
Abby Moore
Editorial Operations Manager

Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.