‘Recommended Daily Allowance’ for a Balanced Musical Diet

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Nutritional experts across the globe agree that our bodies require a balanced diet of nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But can our music listening habits also influence our well being? Global music streaming service Deezer recently commissioned scientists at the British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) to uncover the musical ‘Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)’ for a healthy body and mind.

The scientific study explored the relationship between music and mental and physical well-being by examining how listening to different styles and genres affects mood. Over 7,500 people across eight countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, participated in the survey. The experiment concluded that in order to experience the emotional benefits, the average listener requires:

  • 14 minutes of uplifting music to feel happy (18% of musical RDA)
  • 16 minutes of calming music to relax (20.5% of musical RDA)
  • 16 minutes of songs to overcome sadness (20.5% of musical RDA)
  • 15 minutes of motivating music to aid concentration (19% of musical RDA)
  • 17 minutes of music to help manage anger (22% of musical RDA)

The study revealed that relaxation was the most common emotional benefit gained from music (90%), followed by happiness (82%) and overcoming sadness (47%). A third of participants (32%) reported using music to help them concentrate, while more than a quarter (28%) deal with anger through their tunes.

Pop music was highlighted as the most effective genre for inducing happiness (25%), with ‘Girls Like You’ by Maroon 5 emerging as the most popular song among listeners in the UAE. The research showed that participants felt happier within just five minutes of listening to joyful tunes. Those surveyed also reported feeling more satisfied with life (86%), having increased energy (89%) and laughing more (65%) when playing their favorite ‘feel-good’ songs.

UAE listeners selected Céline Dion’s ‘Because You Loved Me’ as the best choice for achieving a calm state of mind. Participants reported feeling peaceful and contented (92%), having reduced muscle tension (79%) and sleeping better (82%) when listening to relaxing songs. According to experts from BAST, a slow tempo helps to aid relaxation due to how the brain processes sound. The rhythm and patterns found in music have a direct influence on patterns within the biological system, regulating brainwaves, heart rate and neurochemistry.

“Music fans have always understood that listening to their favorite songs has a profound emotional impact, and the findings of our new study confirm this belief,” commented Tarek

Mounir, CEO MENA & Turkey, Deezer. “Whether listeners are enjoying a happy moment, dealing with a stressful situation or simply wish to relax and unwind after a hectic day, our professionally curated playlists offer the perfect soundtrack. Deezer’s unrivaled music library ensures users can reflect and enhance their emotional states, whatever their musical preferences.”

Lyz Cooper of the British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST) explained: “There are certain properties of music that affect the mind and body. Dedicating time each day to listening to music that triggers different emotions can have a hugely beneficial impact on our well-being. Listening to happy songs increases blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward, and decreases flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear.”

A third of respondents (28%) reported that rock music helps them to process feelings of anger, while ‘Sonda-me, Usa-me’ by Aline Barros was revealed as the top song choice in the UAE. The study showed that although a third (31%) of respondents prefer music with a fast tempo when feeling angry, another third favor slow-tempo tunes. This difference comes down to genetic make-up. Rousing music can increase heart rate, blood pressure and emotional response, which helps some listeners to process their angry emotions.

Deezer’s team of music editors have created a bespoke playlist based on the results to help ensure users get their musical RDA. The playlist features the recommended breakdown of different music styles and genres.

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