Listening to soothing, meditative yoga music before sleep may be good for the heart, according to a study by Indian researchers. “We use music therapy in our hospital and in this study we showed that yoga music has a beneficial impact on heart rate variability before sleeping,” said study author Naresh Sen, a Consultant Cardiologist at HG SMS Hospital in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
The study, presented at the ongoing European Society of Cardiology Congress 2018 in Germany, investigated the impact of listening to yoga music, which is a type of soothing or meditative music, before bedtime on heart rate variability.
It included 149 healthy people who participated in three sessions on separate nights: yoga music before sleep at night; pop music with steady beats before sleep at night; and no music or silence before sleep at night. At each session, heart rate variability was measured for five minutes before the music or silence started, for ten minutes during the music/silence, and five minutes after it had stopped.
In addition, anxiety levels were assessed before and after each session using the Goldberg Anxiety Scale. The level of positive feeling was subjectively measured after each session using a visual analogue scale. The average age of participants was 26 years. The researchers found that heart rate variability increased during the yoga music, decreased during the pop music, and did not significantly change during the silence.
Anxiety levels fell significantly after the yoga music, rose significantly post the pop music, and increased after the no music session. Participants felt significantly more positive after the yoga music than they did after the pop music. Sen noted that holistic therapies such as music cannot replace evidence-based drugs and interventions, and should only be used as an add-on.
“Science may have not always agreed, but Indians have long believed in the power of various therapies other than medicines as a mode of treatment for ailments,” he said.
“This is a small study, and more research is needed on the cardiovascular effects of music interventions offered by a trained music therapist. But listening to soothing music before bedtime is a cheap and easy to implement therapy that cannot cause harm,” he added.