The Effect of Music Therapy on Sleep Quality of Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy: A Randomized control trial


  • Seema Vinayak, Dr. Department of Psychology, Panjab University,Chandigarh, India
  • Farnaz Dehkhoda Psychology Department, Panjab University, India
  • Rohin Vinayak Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, India



Cancer, Chemotherapy, Music therapy, Radiotherapy, Sleep quality


Poor sleep quality is frequentin patients undergoing cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.In the present study,an effectiveness of musictherapy on the quality of sleep incancer patients was evaluated. 184 adult cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy were selected from the population who met the inclusion criteria based on convenience sampling. They were randomly assigned to three groups: two intervention groups of active or receptive music therapy and a control group. Participants completed Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index at pre-intervention and post-intervention stages. Ten sessions of active or receptive music therapywere applied to the intervention groups, while the control group received onlyroutinemedicalcare. Every session was of 20-30 minutes. Receptive music therapy involvedpatient’s preferred Persian pop music, and active music therapy involved playing guitar and singing under training and supervision of a music-therapist.Two-way Analysis of Covariance indicated significant differences between results of pre-test and post-test on sleep quality in both intervention groups. It showedthe effectiveness of music therapy in experimental groups, as compared to the control group, and revealedactive music therapy to be more effective to improvesleep quality. No gender difference was found on the results. The study has great implications for sleep quality improvement in the cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


Download data is not yet available.


• American Music Therapy Association. (2014).

• Ancoli-Israel, S., Moore, P. J. & Jones, V. (2001). The relationship between fatigue and sleep in cancer patients: a review. European journal of Cancer Care, 10(4): 245-55.

• Anderson, K.O., Getto, C.J., Mendoza, T.R., et al. (2003). Fatigue and sleep disturbance in patients with cancer, patients with clinical depression, and community-dwelling adults. Journal of Pain Symptom Management, 25: 307-318.

• Aynur, A., Declan, W. &Rybicki, L. (2010). Review: symptom clusters: myth or reality. Palliative Medical journal, 24, 373-85.

• Berger, A. M., Parker, K. P., Young-McCaughan, S., Mallory, G. A., Barsevick, A. M., Beck, S. L., et al. (2005). Sleep wake disturbances in people with cancer and their caregivers: state of the science. Oncology Nursing Forum, 32: 98–126.

• Bernatzky G, Presch M, Anderson M, Panksepp J (2011) Emotional foundations of music as a non-pharmacological pain management tool in modern medicine. Neuroscience Bio-behavior Review Journal, 35: 1989-1999.

• Bloch, B., Reshef, A., Vadas, L., Haliba, Y., Ziv, N. et al. (2010). The effects of music relaxation on sleep quality and emotional measures in people living with schizophrenia. Journal of Music Therapy, 47: 27-52.

• Bradt J., Dileo C., Grocke D. & Magill L. (2011). Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients. Cochrane Database System Review, 8:CD006911

• Burns, D. S., Sledge, R. B., Fuller, L. A., Daggy, J. K., & Monahan, P. O. (2005). Cancer patients' interest and preferences for music therapy. Journal of Music Therapy, 42(3), 185-199.

• Cervellin, G. & Lippi, G. (2011). From music-beat to heartbeat: a journey in the complex interactions between music, brain and heart. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 22 (4), 371–374.

• Chan M.F., Chan, E.A. &Mok, E. (2010). Effects of music on depression and sleep quality in elderly people: a randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 18 (3–4), 150–159.

• Davidson, JR., Maclean, AW.,Brundage, MD. & Schulze, K. (2002). Sleep Disturbance In Cancer Patients. Social Science and Medical Journal, 54, 1309-21.

• deNiet, G., Tiemens, B., Lendemeijer, B. &Hutschemaekers, G. (2009). Music-assisted relaxation to improve sleep quality: meta-analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65 (7), 1356–1364.

• Deshmukh, AD.,Sarvaiya, A.A., Seethalakshmi, R. &Nayak, AS. (2009). Effect of Indian classical music on quality of sleep in depressed patients: A randomized controlled trial. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 18: 70-78.

• FarrahiMoghaddam J, Nakhaee N, Sheibani V, et al. (2012). Reliability and validity of the Persian version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI-P. Journal of Sleep Breath. 79-82. doi: 10.1007/s11325-010-0478-5.

• Gaston, E. T. (1968). Music in therapy. New York, NY: Macmillan.

• Harmat, L., Takacs, J., &Bodizs, R. (2008). Music improves sleep quality in students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(3), 327-335. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04602.x

• Hernandez-Ruiz, E. (2005). Effect of music therapy on the anxiety level and sleep patterns of abused women in shelters. Journal of Music Therapy, 42 (2), 140–158.

• Jespersen, KV. &Vuust, P. (2012). The Effect of Relaxation Music Listening on Sleep Quality in Traumatized Refugees: A Pilot Study. Journal of MusicTherapy, 49: 205-229.

• Johnson, JE. (2003). The use of music to promote sleep in older women. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 20: 27-35.

• Kullich, W., Bernatzky, G., Hesse, H.P., Wendtner, F., Likar, R. & Klein, G. (2003). Music therapy effect on pain, sleep and quality of life in low back pain. Wiener MedizinischeWochenschrift, 153 (9–10), 217–221.

• Kuo, H., Chiu, M., Liao, W. & Hwang, SL. (2009). Quality of sleep and related factors during chemotherapy in patients with stage I/II breast cancer. Journal of Formosan Medical Association, 105:64-69.

• Kvale, EA. & Shuster, JL. (2006). Sleep disturbance in supportive care of cancer: a review. Palliative Medicine Journal, 9, 437-51.

• Lafçi, D. &Öztunç, G. (2015). The Effect of Music on The Sleep Quality of Breast Cancer Patients. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 21(3)164-171. doi: 10.5455/GMJ-30-175101.

• Lai, H.L. & Good, M. (2005). Music improves sleep quality in older adults. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 49 (3), 234–244.

• Lai, HL. (2004). Music preference and relaxation in Taiwanese elderly people. Geriatric Nursing Journal, 25: 286-291.

• Lazic, S., & Ogilvie, R. (2007). Lack of efficacy of music to improve sleep: A polysomnographic and quantitative EEG analysis. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 63, 232-239. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2006.10.004.

• Lutz, S., Norrell, R., Bertucıo, C., et al. (2001). Symptom frequency and severity in patients with metastatic or locally recurrent lung cancer: a prospective study using the lung cancer symptom scale in a community hospital. Palliative Medicine Journal, 4, 157-65.

• McCaffrey, R. (2008). Music listening: its effects in creating a healing environment. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Service, 46: 39-44.

• Mercadante, S., Gireli, D., Casuccio, A. (2004). Sleep Disorders In Advanced Cancer Patients:Prevalence And Factors Associated”. Support Care Cancer Journal, 12, 355-9.

• Mustian, KM., Morrow, GR., Carroll, JK., Figueroa-Moseley, CD., Jean-Pierre, P., Williams, GC. (2007). Integrative non-pharmacologic behavioral interventions for the management of cancer-related fatigue. The Oncologist Journal, 1:52–67.

• Nilsson, U. (2011) Music: a nursing intervention. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 10: 73-74.

• O’Donnell, JF. (2004). Insomnia in cancer patients. Journal of Clinical cornerstoner, 6, 6-14.

• Onen SH, Alloui A, Gross A, Eschallier A, Dubray C. (2001). The effects of total sleep deprivation, selective sleep interruption and sleep recovery on pain tolerance thresholds in healthy subjects. Journal of Sleep Researches. 10:35–42.

• Otte JL., Carpenter JS., Manchanda S., Rand KL., Skaar TC., Weaver M., Chernyak Y., Zhong X., Igega C., Landis C. (2015). Systematic review of sleep disorders in cancer patients: can the prevalence of sleep disorders be ascertained?CancerMed ;4(2):183-200. doi: 10.1002/cam4.356.

• Owen, D.C., Parker, K.P. & McGuire, D.B. (1999). Comparison of subjective sleep quality in patients with cancer and healthy subjects. Oncology Nursing Forum, 26:1649-1651.

• Parker, K.P., Bliwise, D.L., Ribeiro, M., et al. (2008). Sleep/wake patterns of individuals with advanced cancer measured by ambulatory polysomnography. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 26:2464-2472.

• Pelletier, C. L. (2004). The effect of music on decreasing arousal due to stress: A meta-analysis. Journal of Music Therapy, 41(3), 192–214.

• Renzi, C., Peticca, L. &Pescatori, M. (2000). The use of relaxation techniques in the perioperative management of proctological patients: preliminary results. International Journal of Colorectal Disease, 15 (5–6), 313–316.

• Richards, KC. (1998). Effect of a back massage and relaxation intervention on sleep in critically ill patients. American Journal of Critical Care, 7: 288-299.

• Rickson, D., & Watkins, W. G. (2003). Music therapy to promote prosocialbehaviours in aggressive adolescent boys: A pilot study. Journal of Music Therapy, 40(4), 283-301.

• Ryu, MJ., Park, JS., Park, H. (2012). Effect of sleep-inducing music on sleep in persons with percutaneous transluminal coronary angiography in the cardiac care unit. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21: 728-735.

• Sela, R.A., Watanabe, S. &Nekolaichuk, C.L. (2005). Sleep disturbances in palliative cancer patients attending a pain and symptom control clinic. Palliative Support Care, 3:23-31.

• Tang NK, Lereya ST, Boulton H, Miller MA, Wolke D, Cappuccio FP. (2015). Nonpharmacological Treatments of Insomnia for Long-Term Painful Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Sleep,1751-64. doi: 10.5665/sleep.5158.

• Theobald, ED. (2004). Cancer pain, fatigue, distress, and insomnia in cancer patients. Clinical Cornerstone Journal, 6, 15-21.

• Vena, C., Parker, K., Cunningham, M., Clark J. & McMillan, S. (2004). Continuing education: sleep-wake disturbances in people with cancer part I: an overview of sleep, sleep regulation, and effects of disease and treatment. Oncology Nursing Journal Forum, 31:735–746.

• Whitmer, MK., Pruemer, JM.,Nahleh, ZA. &Jazıeh, AR. (2006). Symptom management needs of oncology outpatients. Palliat Med, 9, 628-30.

• Yinger, O. S., and Gooding, L. (2014). Music therapy and music medicine for children and adolescents. Child Adolescents Psychiatry Clinics of North America, 23, 535–553. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2013.03.003.
• Zarogoulidis, P., Steiropoulos, P., Perantoni, E. et al. (2013). Subjective sleep quality in lung cancer patients before and after chemotherapy. Thoracic Cancer journal, 4, 138-42.

• Zimmerman L., Nieveen, J., Barnason, S. &Schmaderer, M. (1996). The effects of music interventions on postoperative pain and sleep in coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients. Scholarly Inquiry for Nursing Practice. 10 (2), 153–170.




How to Cite

Vinayak, S., Dehkhoda, F., & Vinayak, R. (2017). The Effect of Music Therapy on Sleep Quality of Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy: A Randomized control trial. Journal of Social Sciences (COES&Amp;RJ-JSS), 6(4), 734–743.