Sedative music facilitates deep sleep in young adults

J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Apr;20(4):312-7. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0050. Epub 2013 May 10.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of sedative music on the different stages of the sleep cycle in young adults with various sleep latencies by using polysomnography (PSG).

Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled, crossover study.

Setting: Sleep center of a teaching hospital.

Participants: Young adults with different sleep latencies. Poor sleepers (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score ≥5) were excluded.

Interventions: Each participant stayed one night in the sleep center for adaptation and on each of the following two nights was assigned to (1) music and (2) control (without music) conditions in random order. In the music condition, sedative music composed by certified music therapists was played on a compact disc player for the first hour the participant was in bed.

Outcome measures: Sleep measures recorded with PSG, including sleep latency and durations of sleep stages.

Results: Twenty-four young adults (mean±standard deviation, 24.5±2.6 years) participated. They were classified into the short sleep latency (SL) group if the baseline SL of the adaptation night was shorter than 10 minutes or into the long SL group if the baseline SL was 10 minutes or longer. Sedative music did not alter the SL in either group. Sedative music reduced stage II sleep in both SL groups (main effect of music, p=0.03; interaction effect, p=0.87) but increased the duration of deep sleep (stages III and IV) only in the long SL group (main effect of music, p=0.15; interaction effect, p=0.02).

Conclusions: In participants with long SL, sedative music improved the quality of sleep by prolonging the duration of deep sleep. This effect provides an alternative and noninvasive way to improve sleep in selected persons experiencing sleep problems.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music Therapy*
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Young Adult