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Wang C, Li G, Zheng L, et al. Effects of music intervention on sleep quality of older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis Complement Ther Med. 2021; 59:102719.
What are the effects of music-based strategies on sleep quality in older adults, compared with control groups that exclude the use of medication and music?
Some research has shown that having poor sleep quality can lead to depression, anxiety, dementia, physical impairments, heart disease, diabetes, and more in older adults. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, result in poor sleep quality, and are primarily treated with medication. However, long-term use of medication is not recommended due to issues around tolerance, dependence, and the increased risk of illness and death. Efforts are now focusing on finding safe and effective non-medication-based treatments. Strategies that involve the use of music fall into this category and have demonstrated mixed effectiveness in the past. As such, a comprehensive evaluation of the numerical data on music-based strategies and sleep quality in older adults is needed.
This is a systematic review of nine studies, the majority of which were randomized controlled trials and non-randomized controlled trials. The studies were published between 2003 and 2019, and included a total of 489 participants. Six studies were included in a meta-analysis. Key features of the studies:
The review found that music-based strategies may lead to meaningful improvements in overall sleep quality in older adults, compared to control groups. A closer look at specific components of sleep revealed that, in particular, sleep latency, sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and sleep of daytime dysfunction may be enhanced. These positive results were based on a small number of studies and therefore should be interpreted with caution. To further establish these findings, more high quality studies, which are large and less varied, are needed on this topic.
In order adults, music-based strategies may help to enhance overall sleep quality and some individual components of sleep. More research is needed in the future.