Your workout playlist gets you amped for the gym. Your shower playlist makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs. If you search for a studying or relaxation playlist on Spotify, it’s bound to be made up of songs from famous composers like Mozart or Beethoven.
So why does classical music seem to be the best option for peace of mind? Classical music is not just a popular genre for relaxation — it is scientifically proven to be a method of healing for both the body and brain.
The softness and elegance of classical music set the scene for a relaxing environment; it also has a profound effect on our cardiovascular and nervous systems. Classical music is commonly praised for its ability to slow down a fast heart rate and lower blood pressure.
According to a Newsmax Health study, subjects who listened to around 30 minutes of classical music had extremely positive results compared to subjects who listened to popular music. The classical music “notably lowered blood pressure and heart rate,” as well as levels of cortisol, which is the hormone linked to stress.
A byproduct of such increased relaxation can be improved academic performance. By lowering blood pressure and by enabling a relaxing mindset, classical music calms the brain, setting the stage for ample productivity.
Classical music is also known to be a sleep aid. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the slowing heart rate and lower blood pressure that comes with listening to classical music “mirror some of the same changes that your body undergoes when you’re falling asleep, making [classical] music the perfect preparation for restorative slumber.”
Classical music has been tested on students struggling with insomnia. According to Reader’s Digest, a 2006 study found that classical music was helpful, and in some cases a cure, for students tossing and turning at night. This is because classical music slows down activity in the sympathetic nervous system due to its “regular rhythm, low pitches, and tranquil melodies.”
Classical music lowers blood pressure and promotes relaxation, which boosts brainpower, increases overall productivity, and can be an effective remedy for an inadequate night’s sleep. The next time you’re searching for a study aid or feeling stressed, take your taste in music back a few hundred years by exploring what some of the world’s finest composers have to offer.