Rap & Sing Music Therapy and sleep in adolescents: A single-blind cluster randomized controlled trial

Sylka Uhlig, Josephine Groot, Erik Jansen, Erik Scherder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: It is known that music may enhance emotional well-being which may have a positive effect on sleep. The goal of the present study was to examine whether a specific type of music, rapping and singing (Rap & Sing Music Therapy (Rap&SingMT)) could serve as a motivating engagement strategy to improve sleep in adolescents. Methods: Fifty-two adolescents received Rap&SingMT, 45 min, once a week, during four months in a group school setting. Twenty-three adolescents in the control group received a program of various mental activities–but no music. Actigraphy assessed six sleep variables: sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep episodes, snooze time, onset latency and wake percentage. Sleep assessments took place at baseline and after four months (post-testing). Results: A repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance failed to demonstrate a significant effect of Rap&SingMT on “overall” sleep. However, a decline in total sleep time over a period of four months was less in the Rap&SingMT group than in the control group. Discussion: Despite the fact that the participants did not suffer from sleep disturbances, a seasonal change over the experimental period of four months appeared to have less impact on total sleep time in the Rap&SingMT group. These findings will be addressed in more detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
Number of pages11
JournalNordic Journal of Music Therapy
Issue number1
Early online date3 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Special issue: Randomised controlled trials in music therapy


  • Adolescents
  • emotion regulation
  • music therapy
  • rapping and singing
  • RCT
  • school-based intervention
  • self-regulation
  • sleep Actigraphy
  • well-being


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