Washington: Listening to music does give us pleasure, and a new study has discovered that hearing yoga music during bedtime is good for the heart's health. Previous researches have shown that music can reduce anxiety in patients with heart disease. However, studies on the effects of music on the heart in patients and healthy individuals have produced inconsistent results; partly they did not state what style of music was used.
"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 Dr Naresh Sen, study author, Consultant Cardiologist at HG SMS Hospital, Jaipur, India. The findings were presented at the ESC Congress meeting.
The body's heart rate changes as a normal response to being in "fight or flight" or "rest and digest" mode. These states are regulated by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, respectively, and together comprise the autonomic nervous system.
High heart rate variability shows that the heart is able to adapt to these changes. Conversely, low heart rate variability indicates a less adaptive autonomic nervous system. Low heart rate variability is associated with a 32-45 per cent higher risk of a first cardiovascular event. Following a cardiovascular event, people with low heart rate variability have a raised risk of subsequent events and death.
This study investigated the impact of listening to yoga music, which is a type of soothing or meditative music, before bedtime on heart rate variability. For this, researchers incorporated 149 healthy people with an average age of 26 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.
Researchers found that heart rate variability increased during yoga music, decreased during 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 yoga music than they did after pop music. "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," noted Dr Sen.