A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found that listening to music can help older adults sleep better.
Researchers from the National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Taiwan combined the results of past studies to understand the effect that listening to music can have on the quality of older adults’ sleep. Their work suggests that:
- Older adults (ages 60 and up) living at home sleep better when they listen to music for 30 minutes to one hour at bedtime.
- Calm music improves older adults’ sleep quality better than rhythmic music does.
- Older adults should listen to music for more than four weeks to see the most benefit from listening to music.
Why Older Adults Have Trouble Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
As we age, our sleep cycles change and make a good night’s sleep harder to achieve. What does it really mean to get a good night’s sleep? If you wake up rested and ready to start your day, you probably slept deeply the night before. But if you’re tired during the day, need coffee to keep you going, or wake up several times during the night, you may not be getting the deep sleep you need.  According to the National Institute on Aging, older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
But studies have shown that 40 to 70 percent of older adults have sleep problems and over 40 percent have insomnia, meaning they wake up often during the night or too early in the morning. Sleep problems can make you feel irritable and depressed, can cause memory problems, and can even lead to falls or accidents.