The effects of sedative music on sleep quality of older community-dwelling adults in singapore

Angela Shum, Beverley Joan Taylor, Jeff Thayala, Moon Fai Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine the effects of music listening on sleep quality amongst older community-dwelling adults in Singapore. Methods: In a randomized controlled study, a cohort of older adults (N= 60) age 55 years or above were recruited in one community centre. Sleep quality, as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), was the primary outcome. Participants' demographic variables including age, gender, religion, education level, marital and financial status, any chronic illness, previous experiences of music intervention as well as depression levels were collected. Participants were asked to listen to soft, instrumental slow sedative music without lyrics, of approximately 60-80 beats per minute, and 40. min in duration, for 6 weeks. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the effects of the intervention on the elders' sleep quality. Results: Significant reductions in PSQI scores were found in the intervention group (n=28) from baseline (mean±SD, 10.2±2.5) to week 6 (5.9±2.4, p<0.001), while there were no changes in the control group (n=32) from baseline (9.0±2.4) to week 6 (9.5±2.6). At week 6, the intervention group showed a better sleep quality than the control (χ2=61.84, p<0.001). Conclusions: Notwithstanding the placebo effect, this study supports music listening as an effective intervention for older adults to improve sleep quality. Not only does this process improve their sleeping quality at old age, it also individualizes and enhances the quality of care provided by the healthcare provider as the therapeutic relationship between provider and client is being established. Contemporary gerontology is progressively characterized by collaboration between several approaches with the intent to comprehend the mental aspects of the multifarious process of ageing. Music listening is one such avenue to enhance sleep quality amongst older adults and make an essential contribution to healthy ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Music listening
  • Older adults
  • Sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of sedative music on sleep quality of older community-dwelling adults in singapore'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this