There’s a reason we have a playlist for every different scenario of our lives, so we don’t necessarily need science to tell us what we already know: Music does indeed have healing powers. Its potency is undeniable. Just take one look at a crowded dance floor of people working out all their emotional shit, and you won’t have any doubts about the power of music as medicine.
We already know music is a wonderful form of self-expression and it has the ability to help us get through tasks we *really* don’t want to do — like exercising, which is why people tend to listen to music when they work out — but now we know just how much it’s literally doing for our bodies.
After considering all the legit health benefits you get from listening to music, jamming to your favorite song will become a much more important part of your day.
1It helps with pain reduction.
When it comes to pain relief, most of us don’t even think twice about popping an aspirin or some other over-the-counter med to make it stop, but studies show that music legitimately reduces pain.
Music therapy has been known to reduce pain in patients recovering from spinal surgery. Additionally, the findings from a 2015 study published in The Lancet found a measurable connection between music and post-op pain reduction.
As noted by CBS,
2Music helps the body recover from workouts faster.
If you’re suffering from soreness after hitting the gym, there are a few popular options recommended by experts, like using a foam roller, eating foods high in antioxidants, or taking a day or two off so your body can recover. But there is scientific evidence that music helps the body recover from workouts at a faster rate than other approaches.
Prevention cites a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that compared a group of sprinters who ran with music to a group who exercised without it. The findings showed less muscle fatigue in the runners who listened to music during their workouts than those who didn’t.
3Music helps reduce stress and anxiety.
This can be demonstrated every time you put on your headphones, take in the first few notes of your favorite song, and instantly feel yourself start to relax. However, science is far more precise: Researchers have actually pinpointed a specific song that reduces anxiety by up to 65 percent. (FYI, the stress-relieving song is “Weightless” by Marconi Union.)
4It improves sleep quality.
There’s no coincidence that the tunes on your trusty falling asleep playlist seem to be so effective at sending you into La La Land. As it turns out, music can help improve sleep quality in people suffering from insomnia. Studies also show that music is effective in reducing sleep problems among students with poor sleep quality.
According to sleep.org, the urge to snooze upon listening to music comes from its ability to lower the heart rate and slow breathing.
5Music helps your memory.
Your mom may disagree, but there may be some advantages to studying for a test while rocking out to your favorite song at the same time. In addition to dousing your food in olive oil — a memory aid in liquid form — you can also combat forgetfulness by listening to music, which improves memory and verbal intelligence.
6 Music can relieve depression.
While mental illness is a complex issue that doesn’t just go away with a single medicinal or therapeutic treatment, there is plenty of evidence that music helps to relieve depression.
A study published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that a group of children who received music therapy showed signs of “improved self-esteem and reduced depression” compared to a group who were treated with conventional therapy. The study’s lead author, Sam Porter, said in a press release:
Not that we any had doubts, but it’s even more clear that music makes life so much better.