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Midnights Become My Afternoons

Sleep quality is an important factor in a person’s quality of life. Whether it be staying up late finishing homework, or being unable to sleep due to stress, it seems that many people have difficulties maintaining a proper sleep schedule. Despite how important sleep is, it seems that people these days do not get a proper amount of sleep. Some people even sleep with music playing in the background because it seems to help them sleep better, but is there any truth to this? Harmat and colleges decided to test this statement to answer the question: how does music affect the quality of sleep in students?

In Harmat et al’s study, they recruited 94 students (73 women and 21 men) from a Hungarian university who were then separated into 3 blocks. Block 1 would be assigned to listen to the music assigned by the researchers for 45 minutes every night at bedtime for 3 consecutive weeks. Block 2 was assigned to listen to an audiobook for 45 mins every night at bedtime for three consecutive weeks. Finally, Block 3 acted as the control group and received no instruction besides being advised to abstain from music or audiobooks. The music assigned was classical music and the audiobooks assigned were 11 hours of short stories. The study used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) to measure a participant’s sleep quality before and after intervention. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was used to measure depressive symptoms.

The results of the experiment were as follows:

  • Block 1 (music group) had statistically significantly improved sleep quality.

  • Blocks 2 and 3 (Audio book and control group) showed no statistically significant difference.

  • Depressive symptoms decreased in Block, but not in Block 2.

Overall, the study found that relaxing classical music can be an effective intervention in helping reduce sleep problems. However, given that the music group was only tested using classical music, results may differ for different genres of music.


Harmat, L., Takács, J., & Bódizs, R. (2008). Music improves sleep quality in students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(3), 327–335.

Jordan See, Blogger

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