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Keywords:

  • insomnia;
  • meta-analysis;
  • music;
  • relaxation;
  • sleep complaints;
  • systematic review

Abstract

Title. Music-assisted relaxation to improve sleep quality: meta-analysis.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a meta-analysis conducted to evaluate the efficacy of music-assisted relaxation for sleep quality in adults and elders with sleep complaints with or without a co-morbid medical condition.

Background.  Clinical studies have shown that music can influence treatment outcome in a positive and beneficial way. Music holds the promise of counteracting psychological presleep arousal and thus improving the preconditions for sleep.

Data sources.  We conducted a search in the Embase (1997 – July 2008), Medline (1950 – July 2008), Cochrane (2000 – July 2008), Psychinfo (1987 – July 2008) and Cinahl (1982 – July 2008) databases for randomized controlled trials reported in English, German, French and Dutch. The outcome measure of interest was sleep quality.

Methods.  Data were extracted from the included studies using predefined data fields. The researchers independently assessed the quality of the trials using the Delphi list. Only studies with a score of 5 points or higher were included. A pooled analysis was performed based on a fixed effect model.

Results.  Five randomized controlled trials with six treatment conditions and a total of 170 participants in intervention groups and 138 controls met our inclusion criteria. Music-assisted relaxation had a moderate effect on the sleep quality of patients with sleep complaints (standardized mean difference, −0·74; 95% CI: −0·96, −0·46). Subgroup analysis revealed no statistically significant contribution of accompanying measures.

Conclusion.  Music-assisted relaxation can be used without intensive investment in training and materials and is therefore cheap, easily available and can be used by nurses to promote music-assisted relaxation to improve sleep quality.