The Scientific Effects Music Has On Every Aspect Of Your Everyday Life

by Dan Scotti

As the cliché goes: There's a time and there's a place for everything – and music is certainly not the exception.

Take Christmas music, for instance. If you threw on some Burl Ives at your Fourth of July BBQ, I'm sure you'd have your DJ privileges stripped on site.

Having said that, let's say you throw on "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas," in early December. I'm sure you'll witness a completely different response from the rest of company.

My point is music is a very situation-dependent type of entertainment.

This is why there are so many different types of music available to us, in the first place.

If it's a sunny summer day out, and you're feeling happy, you're going straight for the iconic Grateful Dead show from Veneta 72.

If you're feeling a bit depressed, you've got your Cobain sh*t. And the list goes on.

I'm sure you have a different type of music in your iTunes for every type of occasion, and that's a good thing; however, there's some science behind which types of musics provide the best listening material for certain parts of your day.

Surely you'll want to make sure you're getting the most out of your music.

In the bedroom

Well, as you've all probably learned by now, inside the bedroom, anything is possible. To be honest, there’s no real right or wrong way to go about your consensual passionate moments.

Having said this, though, there are certain things you can do to contribute to a more pleasant experience.

There’s an erotic quality about music, especially certain types. According to HUH. Magazine, a study commissioned by Spotify ranked the 20 best songs for people to have sex to.

Music psychologist Dr. Daniel Müllensiefen, who led the study, said,

It is no surprise that so many respondents claimed to find music arousing in the bedroom.

He continued, adding,

From neuro-scientific research we know that music can activate the same pleasure centres of the brain that also respond to much less abstract rewards such as food, drugs or indeed sex.

Perhaps the most staggering number included in the study, however, is the fact a reported 40 percent od people claimed the music was more likely to turn them on than their own partners.

Personally, I’d go for some 112, Miguel, or Pac for some thug lovin’.

In the gym

If you go to the gym with any real frequency, I’m sure you can attest to the importance of music.

Whether you’re bench-pressing, on the elliptical or at any other part of the gym, music is a crucial aspect to your performance.

The reason for this, as told by Ferris Jabr of Scientific American, might be the synchronization of your body to the rhythm.

According to Jabr, two of the most important aspects of work-out music are tempo and rhythm response, which essentially means how likely a song is to make a person want to dance.

Jabr goes on to explain humans are predisposed to dance and will instinctively attempt to sync their body movements and expressions to music.

This concept especially applies to those at the gym, on the treadmill or on the track. While running, if the song you’re playing has a high tempo, it'll likely encourage you to keep a faster physical pace to coincide with it.

If you’re a cardio freak, or just trying to get an extra boost at the gym, you should opt for some EDM music with tempos of 140 BPM or higher. For some deep tech, try out Kaytranada and DJ SKT.

Before sleep

Personally, I like to sleep with the TV on – either watching "Seinfeld" or something on the Food Network – but, for others, they need music playing in order to get some shuteye. According to Cheri Cheng of Counsel & Heal, music can enhance brain power during sleep.

Using a study headed by Dr. Jan Born of the University of Tubingen in Germany, results showed test participants who slept under the music-sleep condition (where they listened to music during their sleep session) performed significantly higher in recall tasks when compared to the control group.

According to Born, "importantly, the sound stimulation is effective only when the sounds occur in synchrony with the on-going slow oscillation rhythm during sleep.” Born continued,

We present the acoustic stimuli whenever a slow oscillation 'up state' was upcoming, and in this way we were able to strengthen the slow oscillation, so that it showed higher amplitude and occurred for longer periods.

I’d try some classical music, especially because of its slow tempo. Try some Gustav Holst or Beethoven.

During the commute

If you refuse to listen to music on the train to or from work because you’re too stressed, you might want to reconsider. According to this study conducted by University of Nevada, music and stress levels are indeed connected – through tempo.

As I mentioned earlier, while faster tempos give you the boost you need when trying to turn up – slower tempos will often times result in the opposite.

If you’re trying to keep composure before a big meeting and you feel your nerves flaring up and start schvitzing, keep some mellow music in your iTunes for your commute to and from the office. One type of music linked with stress relief, in particular, is jazz.

Additionally, jazz music boosts creativity. So, if you’re nervous and lacking some inspiration, make sure you’re listening to some Miles Davis “Sketches of Spain” or Coltrane’s “Stardust” in the morning.

On the weekends

If you’re one of those people who says “Oh, nobody cares about the music anyway,” while at a club, pregame or social gathering by any other means – consider yourself overruled.

According to Jessica Love of Kellogg Insight, listening to the right type of music – even if it’s in the background – can make people feel “more powerful and in control.”

Based on the data of a study conducted by Loran Nordgren and Derek Rucker, Love explains how different types of music are better than others at empowering the listener.

If you’re preparing for a night out and are looking for some extra confidence before courting chicks at the bar, you may want to be a little bit more deliberate with your Pregame Playlist.

One interesting finding I noticed in Nordgren and Rucker’s study is their focus on bass-heavy tracks. According to their results, songs with higher levels of bass in them were found to be more empowering than those without.

One possible correlation for this comes from Rucker’s implication of deep, booming, sounds being linked with dominance, a la Darth Vader.

“He was one of the most intimidating and formidable screen villains that we’ve ever had, and he had that very deep bass voice to signify his unsurpassed presence and dominance,” Rucker explains.

After heartbreak

If you’ve recently discovered heartbreak, I’m sure you’ve also recently discovered the work of Nick Drake, Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan, too; it’s completely normal.

When you’re heartbroken, it's consoling to listen to other people with broken hearts because, well, misery loves company.

According to research conducted at Freie Universität Berlin, this might not be the case after all. Studies show when sad people listen to sad music, the result isn’t sadness – in fact, it’s the contrary: They’ll typically mull over the finer points of their lost loves.

"The most frequent emotion evoked was nostalgia, which is a bittersweet emotion -- it's more complex and it's partly positive," Liila Taruffi, one of the head researchers, described. "This helps explain why sad music is appealing and pleasurable for people."

We turn to sad music when we feel sad because of the connection.

By “letting your imagination run with the spontaneity of the melody; you regulate and vent your emotions after identifying with the song; you empathize with the musician and feel less alone,” Adams claims.