LISTENING to yoga music at bedtime is good for the heart, a new study showed.
Previous research has 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.
The body’s heart rate changes as a normal response to being in “fight or flight” or “rest and digest” mode. 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 percent 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. Failure of the autonomic nervous system to adapt may trigger inflammation, which is linked to cardiovascular disease. Another possibility is that people with low heart rate variability already have subclinical cardiovascular disease.
The new study investigated the impact of listening to yoga music, which is a type of soothing or meditative music, before bedtime on heart rate variability. The sessions includes listening to 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 10 minutes during the music/silence, and five minutes after it had stopped. Anxiety levels were also assessed before and after each session.
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.
“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 Dr. Naresh Sen in Jaipur, India.
However, he stressed those holistic therapies such as music cannot replace evidence-based drugs and interventions, and should only be used as an add-on.
European Society of Cardiology/ScienceDaily