We all know that music makes us feel good, but did you know that researchers have found some real and tangible benefits of listening to classical music in particular?
Let’s look at what they are.
Some psychological benefits include improving your mood and alleviating symptoms of depression such as sadness and apathy. Classical music has a soothing and calming effect and is therefore a good idea to listen to if you are having trouble falling asleep. Research from 2006 showed that the quality of sleep also improves if a person listens to classical music, particularly when listening to pieces that have a low pitch and a regular rhythm.
The soothing influence of the music and the beat seems to help reduce anxiety and make you feel happier. The German government even advocates for car drivers to play classical music to reduce the likelihood of road rage incidents. Classical music influences behavior in many ways, it has been shown to reduce the speed at which people eat their food, possibly because it creates a slow, yet calming mood. People also seem to eat less because they are calmer and chewing their food more slowly.
People who are in chronic pain also report using less pain medication and feeling less pain while listening to classical music. It is suggested that the music stimulates the reward center of the brain, causing increased dopamine levels, which helps to reduce the sensation of pain.
Other medical benefits include lowering blood pressure, probably due to the soothing effect of this type of music, and possibly because certain pieces of music such as Beethoven’s ninth symphony, seem to imitate the natural rhythms of the human body, or so some people claim. Classical music is also associated with increased cognitive functions such as memory, and it seems to help inspire creativity. Research on students has indicated that memory is improved by listening to classical music and that such students could store and retrieve information more easily than students who do not listen to classical music.
Studies have even shown the tremendous benefit of playing such music to people who have any type of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; the music seems to help such people with their memory. In fact, research has shown an increased production of the brain waves responsible for memory in the brains of people listening to classical music. Even if the music does not help their memory it could help to calm agitation and confusion in an impaired patient.
Researchers have done studies that have shown that students perform better in school when listening to classical music. Similar studies have indicated that people are also more productive in the workplace if classical music is playing in the background. There is controversy over how much classical music helps intelligence with some authors stating that it increases IQ because it improves spatial temporal reasoning of the brain. However, this finding is disputed by other researchers since many believe that IQ is largely determined by genetics.