The effect of music on sleep in hospitalized patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Kira Vibe Jespersen, Maria Hauge Hansen, Peter Vuust

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


Sleep is often severely disturbed in hospitalized patients due to multiple factors such as noise, pain, and an unfamiliar environment. Since sleep is important for patient recovery, safe strategies to improve sleep in hospitalized patients are warranted. Music interventions have been found to improve sleep in general, and the aim of this systematic review is to assess the effect of music on sleep among hospitalized patients. We searched 5 databases to identify randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of music interventions on sleep in hospitalized patients. Ten studies including a total of 726 patients matched the inclusion criteria. The sample sizes ranged from 28 to 222 participants per study. The music interventions varied in how the music was chosen as well as duration and time of day. However, in most studies, participants in the intervention group listened to soft music for 30 minutes in the evening. Our meta-analysis showed that music improved sleep quality compared to standard treatment (standardized mean difference 1.55 [95% CI 0.29-2.81], z = 2.41; p = 0.0159). Few studies reported other sleep parameters, and only one study used polysomnography for objective sleep measurement. No adverse events were reported in any of the trials. Hence, music may constitute a safe and low-cost adjunctive intervention to improve sleep in hospitalized patients. Prospero registration number: CRD42021278654.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSleep Health
Pages (from-to)441-448
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Critical care
  • Hospital
  • Insomnia
  • Music
  • Sleep
  • Systematic review


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