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Sleep Disorders
Volume 2013, Article ID 106492, 6 pages
Research Article

Depictions of Insomniacs’ Behaviors and Thoughts in Music Lyrics

1Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, North Hills, CA 91343, USA
2David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
3Oregon Sleep Associates, Portland, OR 97210, USA

Received 24 October 2012; Accepted 21 December 2012

Academic Editor: Marco Zucconi

Copyright © 2013 Constance H. Fung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Study Objectives. Studies have found that depictions of unhealthy behaviors (e.g., illicit substance use, violence) are common in popular music lyrics; however, we are unaware of any studies that have specifically analyzed the content of music lyrics for unhealthy sleep-related behaviors. We sought to determine whether behaviors known to perpetuate insomnia symptoms are commonly depicted in the lyrics of popular music. Methods. We searched three online lyrics sites for lyrics with the word “insomnia” in the title and performed content analysis of each of the lyrics. Lyrics were analyzed for the presence/absence of the following perpetuating factors: extending sleep opportunity, using counter fatigue measures, self-medicating, and engaging in rituals or anti-stimulus control behaviors. Results. We analyzed 83 music lyrics. 47% described one or more perpetuating factor. 30% described individual(s) engaging in rituals or antistimulus control strategies, 24% described self-medicating, 7% described engaging in counter fatigue measures, and 2% described extending sleep opportunity (e.g., napping during daytime). Conclusion. Maladaptive strategies known to perpetuate insomnia symptoms are common in popular music. Our results suggest that listeners of these sleep-related songs are frequently exposed to lyrics that depict maladaptive coping mechanisms. Additional studies are needed to examine the direct effects of exposing individuals to music lyrics with this content.