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One of the most promising natural remedies for insomnia turns out to be one of the simplest and most enjoyable. It's called music therapy and has been shown to help people overcome sleepless nights.
A recent study by Gail C Mornhinweg, PhD found that music can help you sleep better and deeper. In the study, she followed a group of adults with insomnia for 6 months. No one in the group was taking medications to help them sleep or trying other insomnia therapies at the time. All they did differently was to listen to relaxing music before bed.
On the nights when they listened to relaxing music before going to bed, all participants in the study except one reported falling asleep faster and sleeping longer than normal. Interestingly, most also reported that sleeplessness returned on the nights that they did not listen to music.
sleeplessness insomnia help
Sleep And Sleeping Difficulty
Sleep is a natural state of bodily rest observed in humans and other animals. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, and it is more easily reversible than hibernation or coma. It is common to all mammals, and is also seen in many reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish. In humans, other mammals, and a substantial majority of other animals that have been studied (such as some species of fish, birds, ants, and fruit flies), regular sleep is essential for survival.
The purposes and mechanisms of sleep are only partly clear and are the subject of intense research.
In mammals and birds, sleep is divided into two broad types: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM or non-REM) sleep. Each type has a distinct set of associated physiological, neurological, and psychological features. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) further divides NREM into three stages: N1, N2, and N3, the last of which is also called delta, or slow-wave, sleep (SWS). Sleep proceeds in cycles of REM and NREM, the order normally being N1 → N2 → N3 → N2 → REM. There is a greater amount of deep sleep (stage N3) early in the night, while the proportion of REM sleep increases later in the night and just before natural awakening.
The optimal amount of sleep is not a meaningful concept unless the timing of that sleep is seen in relation to an individual's circadian rhythms. A person's major sleep episode is relatively inefficient and inadequate when it occurs at the "wrong" time of day; one should be asleep at least six hours before the lowest body temperature. The timing is correct when the following two circadian markers occur after the middle of the sleep episode and before awakening:
    •    maximum concentration of the hormone melatonin, and
    •    minimum core body temperature.
The National Sleep Foundation in the United States maintains that seven to nine hours of sleep for adult humans is optimal and that sufficient sleep benefits alertness, memory, problem solving, and overall health, as well as reducing the risk of accidents. A widely publicized 2003 study performed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine demonstrated that cognitive performance declines with six or fewer hours of sleep.
A University of California, San Diego, psychiatry study of more than one million adults found that people who live the longest self-report sleeping for six to seven hours each night. Another study of sleep duration and mortality risk in women showed similar results. Other studies show that "sleeping more than 7 to 8 hours per day has been consistently associated with increased mortality," though this study suggests the cause is probably other factors such as depression and socioeconomic status, which would correlate statistically. It has been suggested that the correlation between lower sleep hours and reduced morbidity only occurs with those who wake after less sleep naturally, rather than those who use an alarm.
Researchers at the University of Warwick and University College London have found that lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, but that too much sleep can also double the risk of death. Professor Francesco Cappuccio said, "Short sleep has been shown to be a risk factor for weight gain, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, sometimes leading to mortality; but in contrast to the short sleep-mortality association, it appears that no potential mechanisms by which long sleep could be associated with increased mortality have yet been investigated. Some candidate causes for this include depression, low socioeconomic status, and cancer-related fatigue. …In terms of prevention, our findings indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for health, and a sustained reduction may predispose to ill health."
Furthermore, sleep difficulties are closely associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression, alcoholism, and bipolar disorder. Up to 90% of adults with depression are found to have sleep difficulties. Dysregulation found on EEG includes disturbances in sleep continuity, decreased delta sleep and altered REM patterns with regard to latency, distribution across the night and density of eye movements.
Hours of sleep by age
Children need more sleep per day than adults to develop and function properly: up to 18 hours for newborn babies, with a declining rate as a child ages. A newborn baby spends almost 9 hours a day in REM sleep. By the age of five or so, only slightly over two hours is spent in REM.
Age and condition
Average amount of sleep per day
Newborn-up to 18 hours
1–12 months-14–18 hours
1–3 years-12–15 hours
3–5 years-11–13 hours
5–12 years-9–11 hours
Adolescents-9–10 hours
Adults, including elderly-7–8 (+) hours
Pregnant women-8 (+) hours
Insomnia is a symptom of any of several sleep disorders, characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep despite the opportunity. Insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis or a disease. By definition, insomnia is "difficulty  initiating or maintaining sleep, or both" and it may be due to inadequate quality or quantity of sleep. It is typically followed by functional impairment while awake. Both organic and non-organic insomnia without other cause constitute a sleep disorder, primary insomnia.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services in the year 2007, approximately 64 million Americans regularly suffer from insomnia each year. Insomnia is 1.4 times more common in women than in men.
Insomnia can be caused by:
    •    Psychoactive drugs or stimulants, including certain medications, herbs, caffeine, cocaine, ephedrine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, MDMA, methamphetamine and modafinil
    •    Fluoroquinolone antibiotic drugs, see Fluoroquinolone toxicity, associated with more severe and chronic types of insomnia
    •    Hormone shifts such as those that precede menstruation and those during menopause
    •    Life problems like fear, stress, anxiety, emotional or mental tension, work problems, financial stress, unsatisfactory sex life
    •    Mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive compulsive disorder.
    •    Disturbances of the circadian rhythm, such as shift work and jet lag, can cause an inability to sleep at some times of the day and excessive sleepiness at other times of the day. Jet lag is seen in people who travel through multiple time zones, as the time relative to the rising and setting of the sun no longer coincides with the body's internal concept of it. The insomnia experienced by shift workers is also a circadian rhythm sleep disorder.
    •    Estrogen is considered to play a significant role in women’s mental health (including insomnia). A conceptual model of how estrogen affects mood was suggested by Douma et al. 2005 based on their extensive literature review relating activity of endogenous, bio-identical and synthetic estrogen with mood and well-being. They concluded the sudden estrogen withdrawal, fluctuating estrogen, and periods of sustained estrogen low levels correlated with significant mood lowering. Clinical recovery from depression postpartum, perimenopause, and postmenopause was shown to be effective after levels of estrogen were stabilized and/or restored.
    •    Certain neurological disorders, brain lesions, or a history of traumatic brain injury
    •    Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis
    •    Abuse of over-the counter or prescription sleep aids can produce rebound insomnia
    •    Poor sleep hygiene, e.g., noise
    •    Parasomnia, which includes a number of disruptive sleep events including nightmares, sleepwalking, violent behavior while sleeping, and REM behavior disorder, in which a person moves his/her physical body in response to events within his/her dreams
    •    A rare genetic condition can cause a prion-based, permanent and eventually fatal form of insomnia called fatal familial insomnia
    •    Parasites can cause intestinal disturbances while sleeping.
Sleep studies using polysomnography have suggested that people who have insomnia with sleep disruption have elevated nighttime levels of circulating cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone They also have an elevated metabolic rate, which does not occur in people who do not have insomnia but whose sleep is intentionally disrupted during a sleep study. Studies of brain metabolism using positron emission tomography (PET) scans indicate that people with insomnia have higher metabolic rates by night and by day. The question remains whether these changes are the causes or consequences of long-term insomnia.
Insomnia can be common after the loss of a loved one, even years or decades after the death, if they have not gone through the grieving process. Overall, symptoms and the degree of their severity affect each individual differently depending on their mental health, physical condition, and attitude or personality.
A common misperception is that the amount of sleep required decreases as a person ages. The ability to sleep for long periods, rather than the need for sleep, appears to be lost as people get older. Some elderly insomniacs toss and turn in bed and occasionally fall off the bed at night, diminishing the amount of sleep they receive.
A review of scientific studies identified relaxation, concentration, an altered state of awareness, a suspension of logical thought and the maintenance of a self-observing attitude as the behavioral components of meditation; it is accompanied by a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body that alter metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain chemistry. Meditation has been used in clinical settings as a method of stress and pain reduction. Meditation has also been studied specifically for its effects on stress. Therapy music can help initiating and maintaining good night sleep.
A recent study by Gail C Mornhinweg, PhD found that music can help you sleep better and deeper. In the study, she followed a group of adults with insomnia for 6 months. No one in the group was taking sleep medications or trying other insomnia therapies at the time. All they did differently was listen to relaxing music before bed.
On the nights when they listened to relaxing music before going to bed, all participants in the study except one reported falling asleep faster and sleeping longer than normal. Interestingly, most also reported that sleeplessness returned on the nights that they did not listen to music.
Here's how you can use music to overcome insomnia - like the people in Mornhinweg's study.
Step One - choose music that is relaxing - the study I cited above used Baroque and New Age music.
Step Two - adjust the volume to a comfortable level and relax.
Step Three - listen to the music either sitting or lying in bed, but don't worry about trying to fall asleep. Just focus on the sound of the music and let it relax you.
Step Four - after about 30 minutes go ahead and turn of the music, turn out the lights and go to bed.
That's all there is to this insomnia solution.
It may be simple, but it's worth a try. The good news is, of course, that music therapy for insomnia does not involve taking medicines or drugs that leave you feeling sluggish the next day.
All of these natural approaches are non habit forming and most importantly non toxic.
Interested in more info about baby music therapy? We deeply recommend this great article: