Music as Medicine – The Musical Recommended Daily Allowance

When was the last time you listened to music? Today, yesterday, right now? Most people hear or actively listen to music every day and as humans we tend to change our playlists based on our mood. Music psychologists have proven time and time again, that music can have an effect on our health. So with that in mind, wouldn’t it be great if we could prescribe music to help with certain mood states?

During our latest research project, commissioned by Deezer, we set out to find out whether there was a common dosage for music and how long one needed to listen for a therapeutic effect to be experienced. We discovered a recommended daily allowance of music for various mood states, how this affected people and what types of music were commonly used to achieve this.

Overall, we found that 89% of people thought that music was essential for their health and/or wellbeing.

It came as a surprise to us that such a high % of people used music in this way and that this may account for the rapid growth of relaxation music in general and apps like Calm and Headspace. We’ve known for a long time that sounds affect our health but it was fantastic to confirm that the general public recognise and use this knowledge in their daily lives.

We tested 7581 people and found that of our test group:

  • 90.15% used music to relax
  • 81.80% to make them happy
  • 46.5% to process and/or release sadness
  • 32.53% to aid concentration

We had some amazing results within this.

Music For Relaxation

The best music for relaxation had a slow tempo, simple melody and no lyrics. The optimum time for listening was 13 minutes.

Our test subjects reported positive benefits including decreased muscle tension, negative thoughts disappearing, feeling peaceful and contented and being able to sleep better. So next time you’re feeling stressed, give yourself a time out, all you need is 13 minutes!

  • 79% had reduced muscle tension
  • 84% has less negative thoughts
  • 82% had a better nights sleep
  • 82% felt restful & contented

Music For Happiness

We discovered that you only need 9 minutes of music to feed the soul and make you feel uplifted. The type of music which worked best had a driving rhythm, fast tempo and happy lyrical content.

Our test subjects reported that they became happier, had more energy and felt satisfied with life, it gave them control & most laughed more. This had a knock on effect of them being more positive towards others.

  • 89% had improved energy levels
  • 65% laughed more and/or felt happier
  • 82% felt able to take on anything
  • 82% felt more in control of their lives

Music for Concentration

Though less people used music for concentration overall, those who did, experienced high percentages of positive effects. After 13 minutes of music, our test subjects reported their mind became clearer, they were better able to do their job and they could more easily make decisions.

  • 81% felt their mind became clear
  • 91% felt they could do their job better
  • 89% were able to make decisions more clearly

Music to process or release sadness

For sadness, we found most people chose music with lyrics that they connect with. 13 minutes was the optimum time to process their feelings.

Listening to music for sadness caused our listeners to feel a sense of relief, be less overwhelmed, feel more stable and less likely to be triggered by things that reminded them of the issue. Releasing sadness is an important part of our wellbeing, so give yourself time to process it, put on some sad songs for 13 minutes and then get back onto the happy stuff!

  • 87% felt more emotionally stable
  • 84% felt less overwhelmed
  • 91% felt relief & release
  • 84% came out the other side of their sadness

The Take Home

It seems that 13 isn’t unlucky after all! 3 of our recommended daily allowances for music was 13 minutes proving that just small amounts of time can make a big difference to your wellbeing. So put a playlist together for your mood states and give yourself the boost you might need using music. You can also try some of Lyz’s Consciously Designed Music which is available for free on Spotify. 

You can read the full study on our research pages.

You can get a snapshot of our research in the infographic below. Please feel free to share it with your friends and family.

Using Music as Medicine – Your Musical RDA by The British Academy of Sound Therapy

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