It’s fairly well known that listening to music can have a positive impact on your heart health, particularly your blood pressure.
Several studies have found listening to soothing music can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, and even help ease anxiety.
But beyond your heart, listening to music can help other aspects of your health, too.
For one, music can lift your mood.
Researchers have found that when you hear music you like, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine that can alter your mood for the better.
You’ve probably experienced this before; a certain song triggering a happy memory or thoughts of a loved one.
(Of course, you can experience the opposite, too, if a particular song reminds you of an unpleasant event or bad relationship.)
Music has also been found to improve memory.
Studies show that the repetitive elements of rhythm and melody help our brains form patterns that enhance memory.
In one trial of stroke survivors, listening to music helped subjects experience more verbal memory, less confusion, and better focused attention.
But, in my opinion, one of the most interesting ways sound affects health is with digestion.
As it turns out, the sounds you hear before, during, and after a meal can impact how well your body processes food.
Well, it’s all related to your vagus nerve.
Your vagus nerve connects your brain to your gut and is responsible for many of your bodily functions, including digestion.
And this nerve is quite sensitive to noise.
Loud, annoying sounds can stimulate the vagus and increase your risk of developing digestive distress.
But if you set the right mood with calming sounds, your vagus will work to keep your digestion running smoothly.
The thing about music and your health is that it’s not one particular type of music that’s beneficial.
Everyone is different. Everyone finds different types of music calming.
Some find relaxation with Bach and Beethoven, while others find peace with The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen.
It’s all about finding music that calms you.
Spend some time listening to the music that brings you joy, and your whole body will thank you.