Comparing the effects of music and exercise with music for older adults with insomnia

Appl Nurs Res. 2016 Nov;32:104-110. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2016.06.009. Epub 2016 Jun 23.


Aim: To examine the effects of a soothing music intervention before bedtime and a treadmill brisk walking exercise combined with music in the evening on sleep quality of sedentary older adults with chronic insomnia.

Background: There is evidence to support the use of complementary interventions to improve sleep. They are rarely applied in Taiwanese elderly population.

Methods: Using a crossover controlled trial, 38 participants aged 50 to 75 years were randomly assigned to a music intervention/brisk walking sequence or a brisk walking/music intervention sequence. Each participant completed two intervention sessions (separated by 1 week). Each intervention lasted 30 min. An actigraph extended with electroencephalography (EEG) and questionnaires were used to assess the sleep quality.

Results: Both interventions exhibited beneficial effects on subjective sleep quality in adults with insomnia. Also listening to soothing music before bedtime significantly shortened the wake time after sleep onset measured by EEG, compared with brisk walking in the evening.

Conclusions: The interventions applied in this study could be applied as the evidence-based nursing interventions for insomnia older adults.

Keywords: Electroencephalography; Exercise; Insomnia; Music; Pittsburgh sleep quality index.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electroencephalography
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*