Science Shows What Music to Listen to at Every Moment of the Day

A man listening to music from his phone through his headphones while at a subway station

Music isn't just a form of entertainment — it augments and alters every aspect of our lives. And if you know enough about how music effects you, you can harness its powers to make your day way better.

In the past decade or so, a huge amount of scientific research into music has revealed that the right music at the right time can seriously alter our moods. Here's a scientific breakdown of how you should listen to music throughout the day.

1. To start your mornings.

Regardless of whether you end up at a downtown office or sitting behind your in-home office desk, the morning is where you find the energy you need to power through the day.

Scientists have found that songs with heavy bass (hard rock and hip-hop) inspire feelings of power, and produce a surge of confidence and more complex conceptual thought — a perfect start to any day.

2. While working.

Work productivity tends to fluctuate throughout the day. But music can help — just not music that you like.

Scientists found that listening to music you naturally enjoy releases dopamine, which feels good but decreases focus. Instead, researchers at music-focusing service focus@will suggest stimulating your brain by listening to music that isn't your normal go-to, such as this playlist. So try listening to ragga if you're into jazz. Or if you — like most — love pop, try out some old country.

3. When you're at the end of a bad day.

When you've had a crummy day, it's OK to wallow a bit.

Listening to sad music is actually healthy because it helps aid in psychologically processing those negative emotions. Facing up to your feelings, rather than ignoring them, is imperative to a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle. So go ahead and feel Adele's pain. It's OK.

4. When driving home from said crummy day.

It turns out "driving music" is the worst possible music for driving. 

Researchers found that upbeat and loud music is linked to speeding and a higher rate of collisions, especially among male teen drivers. Unlike energetic tunes, slower music that more closely matches the natural heart beat instantly improves reaction time and is associated with higher levels of safe driving. So next time you're driving, bring back some Norah Jones in the name of safety. 

5. When working out.

Though some running purists insist otherwise, music really is best when at the gym.

Music helps curb fatigue during a workout, and researchers have linked particular genres of music to portions of your gym session. Pop music is best to use for warm ups and cool downs, whereas rap works great for jogging.

6. When eating dinner.

If your cooking isn't quite up to par, jazz music may be the secret ingredient.

Restaurants everywhere have long known that jazz music has serious power over how good we think our food tastes. Researchers proved that people who ate while jazz music played in the background enjoyed their food more, whether it was the main course or dessert. Chocolate is consistently enjoyed more when jazz music is played, too.

7. When you're sleeping.

If you have a hard time sleeping, there might be a better solution than a sleeping pill.

Traditional Eastern and Western classical music has been linked to curing insomnia across the globe, regardless of participant age or what country they live in. Music prolongs REM sleep and is even linked to increasing our memory. So next time you have trouble drifting off, try playing "Weightless." It's scientifically proven to be the most relaxing song ever.