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Music helps combat insomnia

A new study from the Center for Music in the Brain at Aarhus University shows that music can improve the quality of sleep of adults with sleep disorders.

Millions of people all over the world experience difficulty sleeping. Many people find it difficult to fall asleep, wake several times during the night, or experience poor sleep quality. Poor sleep has negative consequences for the individual, but also for society in general in the form of poorer well-being, increased illness or more accidents.

Working together with two collaborative partners from Ohio/Heidelberg and Glostrup, PhD student Kira Vibe Jespersen and Professor Peter Vuust from the Center for Music in the Brain at Aarhus University have had the overview article "Music for insomnia in adults" published, in which they assess the effect of music on sleep disorders in adults.

A comprehensive literature search has been carried out to identify all the relevant studies that which have studied the effect of music on sleep in adults with sleep disorders. The overview article has been compiled as a Cochrane review, which is a very thorough review of the scientific literature on a specific research area, where limitations and methods are clearly defined in advance.

"We included six studies with a total of 314 participants. The studies examined the effect of listening to recorded music at bedtime for 25-60 minutes daily in a period of 3-35 days. Five of the studies measured sleep quality and the overall result indicates that music can improve the quality of sleep for adults with sleep disorders," explains PhD student Kira Vibe Jespersen.

No side effects

The major advantage of using music to combat insomnia is that it is easy to use and has no side effects.

"However, there is a need for further research to clarify how music affects objective measurements of sleep, as well as which aspects of the music are important," says Peter Vuust, who leads the Center for Music in the Brain.

One of the centre’s objectives is to examine how music affects the human brain, as well as how music can be used to promote health and well-being.


  • The Danish National Research Foundation's Center for Music in the Brain is a unique collaboration between Aarhus University and the Royal Academy of Music – www.musicinthebrain.au.dk
  • The overview article is written by Kira Vibe Jespersen (kira@clin.au.dk), Julian Koenig, Poul Jennum and Peter Vuust (pv@musikkons.dk)
  • Reference: Jespersen KV, Koenig J, Jennum P, Vuust P.: Music for insomnia in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD010459. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010459.pub2.

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Kira Vibe Jespersen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine, Center for Music in the Brain
Telephone: +45 7846 9933