Turn Down the Volume to Beat High Blood Pressure: The Surprising Link Between Music and Heart Health

Maintaining a healthy heart is vital, and it turns out, the type of music you listen to can play a significant role in ensuring your well-being. So, if you’re concerned about your heart health, it’s time to make slow, soothing music with silent pauses a part of your daily routine. This is because loud, fast-paced music can raise your heart rate, blood pressure, and even cause hyperventilation.

A study conducted by Luciano Bernardi, M.D., professor of Internal Medicine at Pavia University in Pavia, Italy, found that “music induces a continuous, dynamic — and to some extent predictable — change in the cardiovascular system.” To investigate this phenomenon, Bernardi and his team subjected participants to various pieces of music and observed the effects on their heart health.

The general findings of the study were quite revealing:

  1. As the music’s volume increased, it led to the narrowing of blood vessels under the participants’ skin. This caused a rise in their blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration amplitude. The extent of these changes was directly proportional to the variations in the music’s profile.

  2. On the contrary, during silent pauses, the changes reduced significantly. Blood vessels under the skin dilated, and noticeable reductions in heart rate and blood pressure were observed. This indicates that silence, unlike music, promoted relaxation in the cardiovascular system.

One noteworthy point is that more dramatic music genres, like opera, had the strongest impact on heart and blood pressure levels. Bernardi explains, “The profile of music (crescendo or decrescendo) is continuously tracked by the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. This is particularly evident when music is rich in emphasis, like in operatic music.” These findings shed light on how music could be utilized for rehabilitative medicine.

Now that you know your choice of music may affect your heart health, here are some ways to incorporate slow, soothing music into your daily life:

  1. Start your day with calming music. Instead of setting a loud, jarring alarm to start your day, try waking up to a gentle melody. This can help you transition calmly from sleep to waking, and may even improve your mood for the entire day.

  2. Use music to ease stress and tension. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, take a few minutes to listen to some calming music. Close your eyes and focus on the soothing sounds to clear your mind and relax your body.

  3. Incorporate slow music during your exercise routine. Instead of listening to fast, upbeat tunes while working out, try incorporating slow, calming rhythms into your workout. This can help keep your heart rate and blood pressure in check and may even enhance your overall performance.

  4. Create a relaxing environment at home. Choosing soft, calming music for your living space can create a more peaceful environment, which may positively affect your overall mental and physical health.

  5. Listen to calming music before bedtime. Research shows that listening to soothing music 45 minutes before you go to bed can help improve sleep and decrease insomnia. A steady, slow rhythm can help lull your mind and body into slumber.

The power of music on your overall health and well-being is undeniable, especially when it comes to maintaining good heart health. Being mindful of your music choices and incorporating slow, soothing tunes with silent pauses into your daily routine can go a long way in promoting relaxation and managing your cardiovascular health. So the next time you reach for your music player, consider the genre and volume of your music, as it could have a lasting impact on your heart health.