September 2007 Issue
The ABCs of REM
It's no secret that most of us don't get enough sleep. The National Institutes of Health estimates that approximately 40 million Americans suffer from one or more long-term sleep disorders. But that statistic doesn't have to be one to, well, lose sleep over. According to Marion Good, Ph.D., a professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University's Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing, there is hope for the sleepless –– and it comes in the form of the compact disc, "Bedtime Beats," which is based on a study co-authored by Good and student Hui-Ling Lai.
Their work, entitled "Music Improves Sleep Quality in Older Adults," was published in the "Journal of Advanced Nursing" in 2005. It included 60 residents of Taiwan, ages 60 to 83, who listened to classical music and soft jazz, played at 60 to 80 beats per minute.
"Music significantly improved sleep quality in older Taiwanese adults living in the community," Good says of their findings. The music helped, she says, by slowing down the sympathetic nervous system (the part causing fight-or-flight responses) in participants and calming them so that they were able to drift off to sleep.
"Our music was most likely to affect those who had mild to moderate sleep problems," she adds.
Good and Lai's study inspired Rhino Records producers Cindy Bressler and Lisa Mercurio to create "Bedtime Beats," 120 minutes of soothing classical music that meets the 60-to-80-beats-per-minute criteria and is guaranteed to lull listeners to sleep. Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Satie, Ravel, Mozart and Vivaldi are among the composers featured on the disc.
While Good was not directly involved in the production of the CD, she listened to it as soon as it was completed. "I thought it was absolutely beautiful," she says.
For more information about "Bedtime Beats," visit www.bedtimebeats.com.