What is the ef­fect of mu­sic on sleep­ing, study­ing?

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - OPINION -

DEAR DR. ROACH: For teens, does wear­ing head­phones with mu­sic play­ing while sleep­ing af­fect the qual­ity of their sleep? Also, does lis­ten­ing to mu­sic while study­ing im­pact the qual­ity of study­ing? -- S.W.

AN­SWER: The ef­fect of mu­sic on sleep has been stud­ied sev­eral times, but most stud­ies have looked at clas­si­cal or sooth­ing mu­sic. In most of the tri­als I read, mu­sic at bed­time im­proved the qual­ity and du­ra­tion of sleep. If your teens are any­thing like my teens were, how­ever, clas­si­cal or soft mu­sic is un­likely to be their choice. Also, the tri­als did not ex­am­ine the ef­fect of head­phones, which may al­ter the dif­fer­ent head po­si­tions peo­ple use when falling asleep.

As far as the study­ing ques­tion goes, there clearly are dif­fer­ences among peo­ple. How­ever, in sev­eral stud­ies that in­cluded school-aged chil­dren, ado­les­cents and young adults, study­ing in si­lence led to bet­ter read­ing com­pre­hen­sion com­pared with a noisy room, highly arous­ing mu­sic (such as heavy metal) or less arous­ing mu­sic (pop vo­cal mu­sic). How­ever, those lis­ten­ing to “low arousal” mu­sic had bet­ter scores than those lis­ten­ing to noise. Peo­ple lis­ten­ing to highly arous­ing mu­sic scored worst in read­ing com­pre­hen­sion and re­ac­tion time.

Many peo­ple feel they study best with mu­sic. Some re­searchers have found that mu­sic that is well-known and doesn’t de­mand much at­ten­tion is least likely to in­ter­fere with learn­ing.

DEAR DR. ROACH: In giv­ing good ad­vice about drink­ing al­co­hol, you never men­tion it caus­ing dam­aged brain cells. A neu­rol­o­gist once told me that a brain scan of an al­co­holic pa­tient showed the rav­ages of al­co­hol. He granted that even much less drink­ing would cause some dam­age. When I asked him about the two mar­ti­nis he had rou­tinely be­fore din­ner, he shrugged. He died at 73, prob­a­bly due to his genes. I wouldn’t try to con­nect al­co­hol to cause of death, only the sharp­ness of one’s brain till the end. -- B.W.

AN­SWER: A very re­cent study just looked at the ef­fect of mod­er­ate drink­ing on brain out­comes. They looked at changes on the brain scans in spe­cific ar­eas of the brain. They found that drink­ing even mod­er­ate amounts -- eight stan­dard drinks per week -- in­creased the like­li­hood of brain at­ro­phy (in the U.S., a “stan­dard drink” is 14 grams of al­co­hol, about what is in 12 ounces of most beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a stan­dard “shot” of dis­tilled spir­its). Peo­ple who drank less al­co­hol had a non­signif­i­cant amount of at­ro­phy (but did not have any de­gree of pro­tec­tion). The study had flaws, re­ly­ing on self-re­port­ing, and had a rel­a­tively small sam­ple group; how­ever, the re­sults cer­tainly are plau­si­ble.

In ad­di­tion, the more al­co­hol peo­ple drank, the more likely they were to have rapid de­cline in their cog­ni­tive abil­ity. There were fewer women in the study, and re­searchers could not make mean­ing­ful com­ments about men ver­sus women; how­ever, be­cause of men and women’s av­er­age size, as well as the rel­a­tive size and ac­tiv­ity of the liver, it would be ex­pected that women might have a greater ef­fect for the same amount of al­co­hol.

Based on this study, I agree with the neu­rol­o­gist you spoke to. Even mod­er­ate amounts of al­co­hol may ad­versely af­fect the brain as we age. This new in­for­ma­tion should be con­sid­ered in fu­ture guide­lines on al­co­hol use.

DEAR ABBY: I’m in my early 20s, and my 18-year-old sis­ter, “Judy,” is at­tend­ing com­mu­nity col­lege. All my mem­o­ries of her con­sist of her putting me down. We rec­on­ciled just as I was mov­ing out.

Abby, she is ex­tremely de­pen­dent on the fam­ily. She can­not do for her­self. If I refuse to help her, I am told by my fam­ily that I’m self­ish or a “b----.” They have a run­ning joke that she’s go­ing to live with me and be de­pen­dent on me when our par­ents die. I have heard that Judy is ac­tu­ally OK with it and looks for­ward to the day I can sup­port her.

I have tried point­ing out that it’s nei­ther healthy nor re­al­is­tic, and her is­sues aren’t my fault, but again, I am put down. They say we’re fam­ily and it’s my job to take care of her. But when did fam­ily be­come a job? -- OVER­WHELMED SIS­TER

DEAR OVER­WHELMED SIS­TER: Rather than lis­ten to hearsay, ask your sis­ter di­rectly if she ex­pects you to sup­port her in years to come, be­cause it may not be true. How­ever, if it is, she needs to hear first­hand that it’s not go­ing to hap­pen . . . .

If your par­ents truly be­lieve that your sis­ter will not be­come self-suf­fi­cient, point out to them that they had bet­ter start putting money into a trust for her, if they haven’t al­ready, and name a trustee other than you. Be­ing her care­taker is not your job, and you should not al­low your­self to be bul­lied, shamed or ridiculed into agree­ing to it.

DEAR ABBY: My fi­ance al­ways sets his alarm for be­tween 5 and 6 a.m. for work or school. His clock has two alarms, which he sets 10 min­utes apart. If he doesn’t get out of bed on the sec­ond alarm, he ei­ther hits “snooze” or turns it off and goes back to sleep.

On Mon­days, Wed­nes­days and Fri­days, I wake up at 5 a.m., so I make sure he’s awake be­fore I leave at 5:30. How­ever, on Tues­days and Thurs­days -- or any day that I don’t get up to wake him -- he’s late for work or school.

I have tried telling him that I won’t wake him up and he needs to be re­spon­si­ble for him­self be­cause I don’t want to get up ev­ery morn­ing at 5. This hasn’t worked. Help! -- MORN­ING MARY IN MOSCOW, IDAHO

DEAR MARY: I’ll try, but you may not like what I have to say. Much as you want to help your fi­ance, what you have done is en­able him to “mom-ify” you. Un­til he suf­fers the con­se­quences for his chronic tar­di­ness, noth­ing will change, and he will con­tinue to place the bur­den of drag­ging him out of bed squarely on your shoul­ders.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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