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mental health / wellness
How Classical and Instrumental Music Affect Mental Health
by BetterSleep
Oct 11 2021 • 12 min read
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The appreciation of music is a universal human experience. Everyone enjoys music, even if they disagree on which type is best. Music can benefit your mental health, but you may be surprised to learn just how beneficial instrumental (particularly classical) music is for your well-being. It may even help you fall asleep at night. So far, the research on how classical and instrumental music affects mental health has been largely positive.

Does Classical and Instrumental Music Have Positive Effects on Mental Health

Classical music has been found to have several mental and emotional health benefits. One study found that patients who listened to relaxing classical music before surgery experienced less anxiety and pain afterward. In addition, classical music has also been found to improve mood, cognitive function, and memory.

A recent study published in Psychology of Music shows a link between listening to classical and instrumental music and improved mental health. The study found that people who listened to this type of music experienced lower anxiety, depression, and stress levels. In addition, classical and instrumental music have also been found to improve cognitive function and help with pain management.

While more research is needed to determine why this is the case, the findings provide valuable insight into how music can be used as a tool for improving mental health. You may be surprised to learn just how beneficial instrumental (particularly classical) music is for your well-being. It may even help you fall asleep at night.

What are the Benefits of Classical and Instrumental Music?

There are several benefits associated with listening to classical and instrumental music. One of the most well-known benefits of music is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. In the following sections are some specific benefits.

Music Can Help You Cope with Isolation

Music has often been used as a tool to cope with difficult emotions. In times of isolation, it can be even more important to turn to music for comfort. Listening to upbeat music can help you feel more optimistic while playing soft music and relaxing songs can help you wind down and de-stress. Many people struggled with loneliness throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns.

A study of over 2,100 adults found that over half enjoy listening to classical and instrumental music at home, a big increase compared to before the pandemic. This music serves as a coping mechanism, helping individuals relax, reflect, and distract themselves from difficult current events.

If you’re feeling isolated, try listening to your favorite music and see how it makes you feel. You may be surprised at how much it helps.

Classical Music Reduces Blood Pressure

Numerous studies have shown that classical music acts as a calming agent on the mind and body. One of the most well-documented effects is its ability to lower blood pressure. Blood pressure correlates with stress, and simply listening to calming music can lower stress hormone levels. If classical music can lower your blood pressure, it relaxes you and likely lowers your stress levels.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. To see if music might help, researchers recruited 60 people with high blood pressure who had no history of heart disease. The participants were asked to listen to classical music or sit silently for 30 minutes daily over six weeks.

At the end of the study, those who had listened to music had significantly lower blood pressure than those who had not. AGerman study also found that music by Mozart and Strauss lowered participants’ blood pressure more than pop music. While more research is needed to understand precisely how music reduces blood pressure, it appears that classical music has the potential to be a powerful tool in the fight against high blood pressure.

Music Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Music engages the mind and can help to distract from negative thoughts and rumination. In a study of people who feared heights, researchers found that instrumental music aided their recovery. Participants who listened to music after a virtual reality experience of heights had quicker reductions in anxiety.

Studies have also found that music improves sleep quality and reduces pain perception.A review of music and depression studies also concluded that classical music reduces depression symptoms in patients. As a result, music can be a helpful addition to traditional treatments for anxiety and depression.

When choosing music for relaxation, it is important to choose slow and calming songs. Lyrics should also be positive and uplifting. Ultimately, the goal is to create a space of calm and peace.

Even Sad Music Boosts Mental Health

Instrumental music can be bright and cheerful, but it can also be gloomy. Surprisingly, sad pieces of music are good for your mental well-being. They can reassure you that someone else has experienced similar emotions, like grief, loneliness, or depression.

The music creates a human connection and acknowledges the complex emotions that we all inevitably experience. A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that listening to sad music can benefit mental health. The study asked participants to listen to either happy or sad music and then rate their emotions.

The results showed that those who had listened to sad music reported feeling more reflective and emotionally stable than those who had listened to happy music. In addition, the participants who had listened to sad music also showed increased levels of self-awareness and empathy.

These findings suggest that listening to sad music can be therapeutic and help people healthily process their emotions. Sadness is a natural emotion, and it is essential to allow ourselves to feel it sometimes. By listening to sad music, we can permit ourselves to feel our emotions and gain a better understanding of the emotions of others.

Classical Music Improves Sleep

A study of college students found that those who listened to classical music for 45 minutes before bed fell asleep more quickly and experienced fewer awakenings during the night than those who did not listen to music. In addition, the music listeners reported feeling more rested upon waking up.

The researchers compared this experimental group to a control group with no interventions and a group of students who listened to an audiobook. In addition to better sleep, the music group displayed fewer symptoms of depression. Thus, if you’re having trouble sleeping, consider putting on some tranquil tunes before bedtime. You may just find yourself nodding off more easily.

Classical Music Builds Social Relationships

There’s nothing like music to bring people together. Music brings people together and forms bonds, whether you’re belting out a tune in the car with your friends or singing along to your favorite song at a concert. And new research suggests that these bonds can benefit our health, particularly as we age.

A 2014 study published in the journal Aging & Mental Health found that among those with dementia, music served as a tool to feel connected to others and feel less isolated. The family members and carers also acknowledged the connections that music created among participants when done as a communal activity.

Music therapists are trained to use music to achieve specific goals with people living with dementia. They may work with individuals or groups, using various techniques to tap into the power of music. Classical music has the potential to bring back happy memories, reduce anxiety and agitation, and promote positive social interactions.

When used skillfully by music therapists, it can also help people living with dementia to achieve specific goals, such as improving communication, mood regulation, or managing difficult behaviors.

Boots Brainpower

According to a recent study, listening to classical music may help to boost brainpower. The study, which French researchers conducted, found that students who listened to a lecture in which classical music was played in the background scored better on a test than other students.

While the mechanisms behind this effect are not fully understood, it is believed that classical music’s rhythms and patterns may help stimulate and engage the brain. In addition, classical music’s calming and relaxing effects may help reduce stress levels and improve cognitive function.

Classical music may be worth a try, whether studying for an exam or simply looking to improve your mental acuity.

Using Music to Improve Your Mental Health Via a Therapist

If you’re looking for a way to improve your mental health, consider listening to classical or instrumental music. You can also use music to improve your mental health with the assistance of music therapists.

The therapist studies how to employ musical composition and listening to assist patients in comprehending and regulating their emotions. There are numerous ways to use music to enhance your mental health. For example, you can listen to music while you exercise, work, or commute.

You can also create a playlist of your favorite songs to listen to when you feel stressed or anxious. If you’re interested in using music to improve your mental health, many resources are available to help you get started.

Can Classical and Instrumental Music Prevent Cognitive Decline

Music and mental health seem connected, but the evidence is inconclusive on whether music prevents cognitive decline. Some research suggests that playing an instrument or listening to classical music may improve cognitive function. However, it’s unclear whether this music prevents cognitive decline as we age.

There is also some evidence that performing music may be associated with a lower risk of dementia, but no one knows whether it makes the brain more resilin to diseases. Again, it’s not yet established whether continually exercising such music skills maintains cognitive benefits in young people at a later age.

In any case, it can’t hurt to give it a try! It may benefit your mental health if you enjoy listening to or playing classical music. And if nothing else, you’ll probably enjoy the experience.

How to Choose the Right Type of Music for Your Mental Health

Not all music is equally effective in promoting mental health. Studies have shown that listening to calm, relaxing music is most beneficial for reducing stress. In contrast, upbeat or fast-paced music may increase anxiety levels.

Music therapy sessions are effective against mental illness using the right music. It can also provide a much-needed source of distraction from negative thoughts.

When choosing music for your mental health, it is important to select tracks that resonate with you. Playing music that makes you feel happy, relaxed, or motivated can be particularly helpful in boosting your mood. There are many different types of instrumental music to choose from, and the right type for you will depend on your needs and preferences.

Classical or jazz may be the best genres for you if you’re looking for music to relax or study. If you need something with a bit more energy to help you stay focused, rock or pop may be better choices. And if you’re looking for background music for an event or party, dance or electronic music may be the way to go.

No matter your needs, a type of instrumental music is sure to be perfect for you. If you are unsure where to start, there are many online resources that offer recommendations for mental health-friendly music. Once you have found a few songs that work for you, create a playlist that you can return to whenever you need a little boost.

Types of Music

There are many different types of classical and instrumental music to choose from. Some of the most popular genres include:


Though its origins date back centuries, classical music is still popular today. Classical music is typically slow and melodic and often promotes relaxation and calmness. Some well-known classical composers include Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.

It may seem old-fashioned to some, but there are many advantages to listening to classical music. For one, it has been shown to improve focus and concentration. A study published in the journal Neuroscience found that listening to classical music while working on a task can help to improve cognitive performance.

In addition, classical music has also been linked to lower stress and anxiety levels. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try putting on some Bach or Beethoven and see if it helps you relax.


Jazz music has long been a favorite among music lovers around the world. Characterized by its improvisational style and unique blend of musical genres, jazz has an appeal that is both timeless and universal. It is typically upbeat and features improvisation between the musicians. It is often used to increase energy levels and improve mental focus.

In recent years, jazz has also gained popularity as a therapeutic tool, with studies showing that it can help to reduce stress and even boost the immune system. Regarding mental health, jazz may be particularly effective in treating anxiety and depression.

The relaxing rhythms and soothing melodies can help to calm the mind and ease tension, while the creative elements can provide a much-needed outlet for self-expression. Jazz is also a highly interactive form of music, promoting social bonding and providing an enjoyable way to connect with others.

With so many benefits, it is no wonder that people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy jazz. Some well-known jazz musicians include Miles Davis and John Coltrane.


This is typically loud and fast-paced music, with a strong focus on guitar solos. It is often used to increase energy levels and improve focus. Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated in the 1950s. It is characterized by the heavy use of electric guitars, drums, and bass. Rock music has since evolved to include a wide range of styles, including pop rock, punk rock, and heavy metal.

Despite its diversification, rock music remains one of the most popular genres worldwide. One reason for its enduring popularity is its ability to evoke strong emotions. Rock music is often aggressive and adrenaline-pumping, making it perfect for getting people pumped up for a workout or party. It can also be expressive and poignant, serving as the perfect soundtrack for a night of reflection or introspection.

In addition to its emotional appeal, rock music is also highly energetic and fun. Few things are more satisfying than headbanging to your favorite tunes while riding in the car or working out at the gym. So whether you’re looking to get pumped up or mellow out, rock music has something to offer everyone. Some well-known rock musicians include The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.


This is typically light and fast music, with simple melodies and song lyrics. It is often used as background music for events or parties. Pop music has been popular for decades, and is why it continues to be popular today.

One reason is that pop music is usually very catchy and easy to sing along to. This makes it perfect for dancing and partying, which is why it is often played at clubs and parties. Another advantage of pop music is that it is often upbeat, which can help to improve your mood.

In addition, pop music is often very accessible, meaning that you do not need any special equipment or training to enjoy it. Whether you are listening to the radio, streaming online, or buying CDs, there are many ways to enjoy pop music. As a result, it is easy to see why pop music remains one of the most popular genres today. Some well-known pop musicians include Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.


Dance music is typically electronic, with heavy basslines and repetitive rhythms. It is often used to increase energy levels and improve mood. Dance music has many benefits that appeal to a wide range of people. From improving mental health to providing a physical workout, few genres of music offer as many advantages as dance music.

One of the most appealing aspects of dance music is its ability to improve mental health. In a study conducted by the University of London, it was found that participants who listened to 30 minutes of dance music experienced a significant increase in positive emotions. The study also found that dance music can help to reduce anxiety and depression.

In addition to its mental health benefits, dance music is a great way to work out physically. Because it is such an upbeat genre, it is easy to get lost in the music and start dancing without even realizing it. As a result, many people find themselves getting a great workout without even intending to.

Dance music is a great option whether you want to improve your mental or physical health. Some well-known dance musicians include Calvin Harris and David Guetta.

Listening to Music Before Bed

Most people enjoy listening to music; many find it helps them relax and fall asleep. A wide variety of music can be effective for sleep, from soft classical pieces to more upbeat folk songs. In general, slower and softer music is more likely to be soothing, while faster-paced and louder music may be more likely to keep listeners awake.

However, the best type of music for sleep is ultimately the one the listener enjoys and finds relaxing. There are many ways to listen to music before bed, including streaming services, radio, CDs, and vinyl records.

Some people prefer to create a playlist of their favorite sleep-inducing songs, while others prefer to simply let the music play in the background as they drift off to sleep. Whichever method you choose, there is no doubt that listening to music before bed can be a great way to relax and get a good night’s sleep.

Listening to music in the evening is also a great way to unwind, reduce stress, and prepare for good sleep. Not all music works, though, even in the classical category. Listen to pieces that are soothing, not jarring or exciting.

BetterSleep has a carefully curated collection of classical and instrumental music to make your choice easier. Go to the Music section in the app and select from soft piano pieces, orchestral music, techno music, meditative music, spa music, ambient music, and more. The BetterSleep app also includes musical pieces designed to aid meditation so that you can get the best of two sleep strategies in one.

Making classical music a part of your daily life is a great idea for anyone interested in bettering their mental health. It may not cure what’s bothering you, but listening to soothing instrumentals can help you feel happier, sleepier, and more connected to your emotions and others. That’s music to our ears.


Numerous studies have demonstrated the tremendous impact of music on the human mind, showing how it may improve mood, create positive feelings, reduce stress, and enhance cognitive performance. Choosing songs that speak to you personally while selecting music for your mental health is crucial.

Songs that uplift your spirits include uplifting, calming, or upbeat. According to a study, music may make you feel better if you’re in physical pain by lowering your perception of it. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that background music can increase concentration and task performance, especially if the music is appropriate for the current task.

At BetterSleep, we have a selection of instrumental and classical music specifically chosen to encourage relaxation and better sleep. Try out our music to see whether it improves your everyday life.

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