You know how we feel about naps around here. Next time you lie down, try putting on some classical music.
Today, I shared some time with a former NFL player. He played 10 years in the league and led his team in receptions on more than one occasion. He told me that he believed naps gave him a competitive edge. Every day of practice, he explained to me, he’d nap for several hours before dragging himself up to attend meetings. His teammates busted his balls, but he stayed on point. During our enjoyable moments together, he shared a bit about his experience with meditative sleep through a company called NuCalm.
I have never experienced the product, but I’m intrigued. Originally designed for anxious dental patience, the company’s concept is using music and meditation to induce sleep, followed by a return to a fully awake state using the same method. From oralhealthgroup.com:
NuCalm brings alert beta brain wave function down to the alpha range (first stage of sleep, characterized by brain wave frequencies between 8-12Hz per second). Patients experience the same relaxation that they feel as their body “winds down” and readies for sleep. Alpha brain waves are associated with deep relaxation, meditation, and idleness. Patients in the alpha stage of sleep are physically unable to have an anxious response. NuCalm uses applied neuropsychobiology and neurobioinformatics to entrain brain wave frequency to the alpha range which is associated with deep relaxation, naturally creating homeostasis, neuromuscular release, and relaxation for the patient. NuCalm provides a safe, non-intrusive solution to eliminating anxiety in the dental chair.
If that sounds like an advertisement, it’s because it is. I don’t have anxiety when I hit the dentist chair. That isn’t to say I enjoy it, but with some good old-fashioned Novocaine (or better yet, Scotch), I’m fine. What I’m most intrigued by is utilizing the technique for napping.
We’ve mused several times about the health benefits of getting optimal sleep. We’ve also discussed how napping helps us improve cognitive function and repair muscle tissue through the release of powerful hormones. What we haven’t delved far enough into is how we can get into the blissful state of rest necessary to begin these processes.
The meditation aspect has at least one study behind it to back up their claims. From a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine:
According to our findings, mindfulness meditation appears to have a role in addressing the prevalent burden of sleep problems among older adults by remediating their moderate sleep disturbances and deficits in daytime functioning, with short-term effect sizes commensurate with the status quo of clinical treatment approaches for sleep problems
Likewise, classical music may be a positive contributor. A 2008 study investigated the effects of music on sleep quality. The study used
a three-group repeated measures design. Ninety-four students (aged between 19 and 28 years) with sleep complaints were studied in 2006. Participants listened for 45 minutes either to relaxing classical music (Group 1) or an audiobook (Group 2) at bedtime for 3 weeks. The control group (Group 3) received no intervention. Sleep quality was measured using the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index before the study and weekly during the intervention. Depressive symptoms in experimental group participants were measured using the Beck Depression Inventory.
The experiment concluded,
Relaxing classical music is an effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems.
I see what you’re doing right now. Don’t roll your eyes. I’m not saying playing classical music before bed will cure your insomnia…but I’m not saying it won’t. You know how we feel about trial and error around here. Take a step, any step, and see how you feel. You might just improve your sleep quality. If you don’t, you’ll have learned about Stravinsky or Bach and you can tell your friends how worldly and cultured you are.