Human InterestPreventive MedicineWellness


When I was in grade school, I thought it was cool to listen to a late night disc jockey on my radio after I had gone to bed. I set my radio right next to my head with the volume turned just so I could barely hear it. I listened to it every night and memorized the lyrics to several songs like “Honeycomb” by Jimmie Rodgers, ‘Wonderful, Wonderful” by Johnny Mathis, and “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation” by Marty Robbins. I thought I was putting one over on my parents, listening to the radio when I was supposed to be sleeping. I don’t really know if I eventually turned it off and went to sleep or fell asleep and awoke later to turn it off. Whichever it was, I loved listening to music in the darkness of my bedroom. 

I didn’t think it was the music that put me to sleep. I was a busy, overactive adolescent who ran at full speed all the time and thought he was getting away with something! I didn’t want to sleep. I wasn’t tired or sleepy. I just wanted to hear The Platters sing “My Prayer!”

Adults, with complicated, troubled lives have a disorder called insomnia. It’s a very troublesome problem and sufferers spend millions of dollars each year to find a remedy. Quite often they are unsuccessful. However, there may be a simple solution that involves my sneaky, late night radio-listening. 

Sleep researchers, and there are many, have conclusively found that adults with “sleep problems or insomnia [are helped by] listening to music at bedtime.” Sleep quality, sleep-onset latency (how long it takes to fall asleep), sleep duration, and sleep efficiency are improved by listening to music, especially, any type of music you enjoy. Thirteen trials that included 1007 participants listened to recorded music for 25-60 minutes per day for at least 3 days and for as long as 3 months. The trials had different outcomes, but overall they showed that people who listened to music had improved sleep quality based on “sleep quality index scores.” 

The studies concluded that music “may be effective for improving subjective sleep quality in adults with symptoms of insomnia.” For years, Indianapolis had an “elevator-music” FM radio station called “Ecstacy, WXTZ.” When we went to bed, we set our radio timer for 30 minutes, tuned to “XTZ”, and were serenaded to sleep by quiet, easy listening instrumental music. It worked like a charm for us, and according to recent research it has a role in the treatment of insomnia! We knew it helped us relax and fall asleep, but had no idea that later it would be recommended for insomniacs.

References: Cochrane for Clinicians Cayley WE. Insomnia Therapy: Listening to Music. Am Fam Phys 2023 May;107(5):463-464.

Jespersen KV, et al. Listening to music for insomnia in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.


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    1. Mario, How are you! Man, I miss people like you! You’re a fun guy! Are you still into rockets and computer games?

      1. Hi Doc! I can assure you that you are also missed. I still play computer games but I’ve retired and no longer develop them. I am still into model rocketry but don’t really fly as much. These days I’m more interested in developing new devices for the hobby. I’m currently finishing the design of a wireless launch controller for group launches. Our local club has been using the prototype for a couple of years so I’m just doing the finishing touches. I also wrote a book about model rocketry a few years ago; Seize The Sky; A Builders Guide To Rocketry.

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