Music is core to the definition of human history – every culture, from every epoch, has had some form of significant system of rhythmic sounds that form the basis of song. Some scientists have even claimed that music, like mathematics, is actually a universal language, claiming that we humans may even have a natural musical sense embedded in our DNA. Thanks to modern advances in technology, including VAVA audio equipment and headphones, we can now easily tap into that part of ourselves anywhere, at any time.
But why should you listen to music? Today, we explore ten science-backed ways that music can benefit your health!
1 – Music makes you happy!
A few years ago, researchers at a Canadian university invited a handful of music lovers into their labs to listen to their absolute favorite tracks and musicians. Using a radioactive solution, the study was able to show that music helps release dopamine from listener’s brain, resulting in feelings of pleasure and happiness. It’s the same chemical that draws someone to addictive substances or delicious foods.
2 – Music helps reduce your stress!
We can probably all think back to a recent time where we’ve complained of being stressed. This feeling is a product of elevated levels of what’s called cortisol, a hormone, which can cause memory loss, weight gain, increased blood pressure, heart problems, and so on. Thankfully, listening to your iPod before and after a stressful situation has been shown to reduce those cortisol levels!
3 – Music can also improve your immune system!
In 2008, another team of scientists was looking at cortisol and the impact music can have in reducing its levels in the human body. A group of three hundred volunteers were asked to listen to fifty minutes of happy, dance-worthy music, after which they were tested for levels of antibodies. The result? Most participants saw their immune system get a solid boost! The study attributes this to a psychological and biological process that links less stress to improved antibody production.
4 – Music is a great pain reliever!
When you listen to that perfect riff, it often feels like the world around you just disappears – it’s just you and the music. Building on this idea of distraction, recent study has shown music can limit the need of pharmaceutical pain relievers, especially for young people and post-operative patients, while increasing tolerance and feelings of control over pain. Simply, when you’re distracted by your music, you feel less discomfort.
5 – Music means better memory!
Go to any university library and you’ll find hundreds of students hunched over their computers or books, with ear buds quietly humming a top 40s soundtrack or classical ballade. They may not know why, but those students would likely argue that music helps them memorize. Well, research suggests that music helps lock-in visual images in our so-called mind’s eye, increases our focus, and holds our attention, all of which are incredibly important in memorization. It has also been shown to enhance the memory of those suffering from both Alzheimer’s and dementia!
6 – Music helps you play at your best!
Fight songs. Entrance music. Getting pumped up for that big game. Music plays an important part in getting sports players and athletics in the right mindset for their next match or competition. But what does it actually do? According to our current understandings, music helps reduce rates of perceived effort, improve endurance, strengthen the electrical connections between brain and body, enhance synchronicity of movements, and it builds you positive emotions. A pair of researchers have even called it a legal performance-enhancing drug!
7 – Have your best sleep!
Despite it’s incredible ability to help pump you up, it turns out there’s also a reason why your parents would sing lullabies to you help you fall asleep as a child. Science suggests that listening to a slow, soothing set of songs over several weeks can help you relax, fall asleep faster, wake up less, and feel better rested the next day. It does this by reducing your heart rate and slowing your breathing, which triggers your body’s ability to enter a more relaxed state. And it works for all ages!
8 – Music is a key to eating less!
Thanks to Cornell, we know that music, when combined with soft lighting and a soothing ambience, can actually help you eat less. In a study from 2012, participants were asked to eat the same fast food restaurant meal in two different settings: the harsh, bright lights and music of a regular fast food joint; and, a dimly lit, quiet and mellow environment of a fine dining location. The result was those in the latter category were found to have consumed 18 percent less food!
9 – Your favorite tunes can raise your IQ and academic performance!
Amazingly, music is also believed to be a key factor, especially in young people, of raising not only IQ, but aiding verbal memory and literacy. In 2004 and 2006, a series of studies published in the Journal of Education Psychology argued that there is a direct link between children taking music lessons and higher IQ later in life. It’s hoped that more research will tell us more as to why this might be.
- 10 – Music is great at improving blood vessel function!
Last, but certainly not least, work out of the University of Maryland in 2008 suggests that listening to your favorite tunes might actually help improve blood flow in the body. It all relates back to the idea that music makes us happy, reduces stress, and decreases levels of bodily cortisol. When you’re happy, your blood vessels respond by expanding and contracting more efficiently, helping your circulation. The opposite is also true – when you listen to stressful music, your blood vessels narrow and blood flow slows considerably.
It’s truly amazing what science has been able to show us about the benefits of music! And thankfully, now more than ever, we humans have the right tools to listen to our favorite tracks at any time. Be sure to check out VAVA’s incredible lineup of audio equipment and headphones, and tell us in the comments below how music has helped your health for the better!