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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Do you use music as a sleep aid?

If you use music as a sleep aid, make sure it is familiar music. That is, music you've heard over and over again such that it is predictable to your brain (such as a well-worn playlist). The brain may be alerted and move to break out of consolidated sleep with new music. So, listening to the radio or a live stream is not ideal because there will be elements which the brain may not expect. The unexpected evoke K-complexes in the brain which are massive discharges of electrical spikes--think of a startle reflex. Likewise, don't watch TV to sleep because the varying program line up and intervening commercials will fragment sleep. Listen to music with a slower beat (less than the 100-120 bpm rhythm typical of party/workout music). As an added tidbit for the students in the community, be mindful of studying with music. Memory recall is linked to the conditions under which the memory was created. Thus, if you listen to music whilst studying, but you are not permitted to listen to that same music during your exam, memory recall may be lessened. During your final pre-exam review, consider doing so mirroring the exam conditions as closely as possible.
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD

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