What Happens If You Listen To Music While You Sleep Save Time and Enjoy Soundtrack Stress Relief

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Save Time and Enjoy Soundtrack Stress Relief

Many people listen to Rocky’s “Gonna Fly Now” to get the most out of their workout. Research shows that music can help you exercise longer and with less pain. Others use it as a general, get-up-and-go motivation.

What do you wake up and listen to when you’re stressed out and need to de-stress? Maybe you play a popular, soothing song or your favorite piece of classical music.

Why do we use music like this? How does it work? And is there a way to optimize the stress relief effect?

It is said that music is the music of our life. When you hear a song you heard when you were young, it brings back a wave of memories and emotions associated with it. These emotions can be pleasant and relaxing, but they can also be upsetting and stressful.

A song for dogs?

The association between music and previous emotions is the result of what psychologists call classical conditioning. You may remember from Psychology 101 that the Russian scientist Pavlov rang a bell before giving the dog meat. As one might have guessed, the dogs drooled on the meat, but after a while the dogs alone drooled on the bell. The contact or connection between the bell and the meat is forged.

This discovery led to an understanding of how people develop phobias after being exposed to a feared situation. In addition, it has led to the treatment of many types of phobias and other disorders. This explains why music we hear once in a lifetime brings back strong emotions.

There is Does a background in relaxation training sound helpful?

Maybe you’ve learned some relaxation skills from yoga, meditation, or other classes, or from videos or audio recordings. Perhaps you’ve learned to deepen and slow your breathing, tense and relax your muscles, or visualize a peaceful scene. Many relaxation videos have instrumental or nature sounds to help you relax while learning the technique.

When I was studying as a psychologist, relaxation techniques were developed and taught without any background, so I was suspicious of the use of such background music and sounds on relaxation videos. In fact, until better recordings were made in the sound studio, recording research produced mixed results, but the use of backgrounds remained controversial.

The value of such a baseline seems obvious to me, but to assuage the concerns of some psychologists, I conducted a study comparing responses to relaxation instructions with and without a baseline. The results clearly favored the use of background music and natural sounds.

Not all relaxing music is relaxing

I have used several relaxation programs in the past with patients in my psychology practice, and while background music is often very helpful, I have found that for some patients, music can bring back upsetting memories. In order to introduce new ways to avoid stress and relieve stress from this audio recording, I wrote relaxation instructions during therapy sessions and suggested that patients play their favorite and most relaxing music in the background while practicing at home.

I also bought a natural sound generator for my office. This device allowed the sounds of rain, thunder, crickets, streams, sea and wind to be played alone or in combination with other sounds such as thunder, buoys, seagulls and squawks. There is probably nothing more soothing than the recorded sounds of God’s creation. I invited patients to choose a natural tune and played it while writing the relaxation instructions.

One patient chose a combination of wind and coyote. Coyotes? I was creeped out by the howling of wolves, but the patient was from the midwest and explained that growing up on the prairies, she could hear the wind and the coyotes when she was safe in bed at night!

Why is the beach song so popular?

Fortunately, I discovered that the most popular sounds of nature are a combination of ocean waves and seagull calls. Years later I was asked why this combination was the most popular. Surprisingly, I never thought about it, so I felt a bit stupid, because you don’t need to be a psychologist to realize that most people sunbathe and relax on the beach.

The only patient who didn’t like this combination was bitten by a seagull as a child! Here’s another example of recording stress. He said he was sorry the soundtrack upset him and gave him a voice-only version.

After eight years of taking patient feedback and incorporating recommendations into my guidelines, I commissioned a new guitar track from a composer. I told him that I didn’t want anyone to recognize the tune and remind me of the song I heard.

I recorded the track for the program in the studio, then mixed the guitar music and beach sounds together and processed the track on my desktop computer. A patient told me it was very relaxing, but I wondered how I could write this without breathing. I explained that it took hours to make distracting sounds like breathing.

A stress relief soundtrack is born

This program is an award-winning, seven-part audio relaxation program. One of the first patients to use it was a medical student. He wanted to know if I had any recordings of nature sounds or guitar music.

When I asked him why, he explained that he had practiced all seven sections and that the program really helped him de-stress, but he couldn’t hear it while watching the lesson. Although he used the quick relaxation techniques he learned from the program, he still felt anxious while studying certain subjects. When she tried to listen to the program while studying, the instructions were too distracting. He thought the music would give him another way to relax when his anxiety got in the way of his studies.

It helped the student so much that I started recommending the soundtrack to other patients who used the app. For example, I’ve recommended that a writer with writer’s block play a soundtrack to reduce the likelihood of spending time staring at a computer screen. I also suggested that an obsessive man should listen to familiar sounds and music while doing housework to avoid repetitive thoughts.

The music saved time because it allowed these patients to relax while doing what they wanted to do. They didn’t have to listen to any part of the program to get some of the benefits.

Be careful: the soundtrack’s stress reliever can be too relaxing!

I should mention that a long time ago I received the same request as a medical student from a patient who had to wait two weeks with great anxiety because I had to drive to New York City. He knew from the introduction to my program that driving while listening to the program would be too distracting or sleepy. He used the song I provided and was very pleased with the results.

Unfortunately, a later patient found that the soundtrack made him too drowsy to drive, so it was not recommended for use while driving. As with any drug that relieves symptoms but has misused or unwanted side effects, the power of stress-relieving sound should be used with care and responsibility.

Sex and stress relief

Sometimes my patients struggle to find time to listen to stress relief programs as often as possible. I often ask my spouse to practice with them. One of these patients admitted to being in love for the first time in months that the two of them were so relaxed during the next session!

Another patient who had struggled with erectile dysfunction for years used the program and made steady progress in regaining intimacy. When he had another problem, he scheduled a “stimulation session.” I used hypnosis to help him make progress, but I suggested the use of vocalizations during lovemaking. I hope he doesn’t make repeated appointments and that he doesn’t have to see me anymore.

Public Speaking and Golf

For those who fear public speaking, music is a great way to increase mental preparation time before giving a speech. For those looking to use visualization to improve their golf game or other sports, soundtracks give them more time to visualize their skills and accomplishments during “practice.”

We hope this information will help you manage your stress in a new and effective way.

Copyright © 2018 Ronald G. Nathan, Ph.D.

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