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Comparing Two Types of Music on the Naptime Resting Behavior of Sleeping Childcare Children

Researched by Monique C.



The purpose of this experiment was to determine which type of music decreases the restless naptime behavior of childcare children more, classical music or soft rock. 

I became interested in this idea last year after I did my science project on the effect of music vs. silence on sleeping childcare children.  I have also spent a fair amount of time at my mother’s childcare and have found that the children need their rest. 

The information gained from this experiment will help parents and childcares around the world get their children to rest better during the day. 




My hypothesis is that the children will have a more restful nap with classical music rather than soft rock. 

 I base my hypothesis on my own experiences. When I rest I have music playing and I have found that I rest better when I have classical music playing than anything else.




The constants in this study were that I recorded the same children every time I used the videotape.  The children were in the same location in the classroom at each taping.  When I played the music it was the same Mozart music or the same Beatles music.

The manipulated variable was playing the Beatles vs. Mozart during the naptime of childcare children.

The responding variable was the children's restful behavior.  Restful behavior takes place when the child makes no large body movements; non-restful behavior takes place when the child does make large noticeable body movements.

To measure the responding variable 10 minutes of video footage was reviewed. A tally mark on a data sheet was made for each large body movement.  This was done for each subject.



1 video tape
1 battery charger
1 television
1 The Beatles /1962-1966 compact disc
1 Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 21 compact disc
1 compact disc player
8 cots
1 tripod
1 childcare center
1 video camera



1.The night before the first taping set up the tripod in the classroom and leave it 
     there until naptime.  Leave the camera off.
2. Pick 8 children that come regularly to the childcare.
3. Get parent permission slips signed.
4. Label each child 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
5. Use those children as your  "subjects" for taping.
6. Layout the cots in the room.
7. Have the children take their shoes off.
8. Give each child their necessities to go to sleep.
9. Instruct them to lie down on their cot.
10. Dim the lights.
11. Turn on the music.  (Alternating every other day with each type of music.)
12.  Pat or rub each child’s back to help them relax and rest.
13. Wait 30 minutes into naptime to turn the camera on. 
14. Slowly turn on the camera.
15. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
16 Slowly turn off the camera after the 10 minutes.
17. Slowly move the camera to the next child and repeat steps 13 through 16. Do this for each of 
      the        eight children.
18. Carefully remove the camera and store.
19. Review the footage to be sure the image is clear.
20. View the video and record the data by recording a tally mark if a large noticeable body movement occurs.
21. Repeat steps 5-19 until ten days have been completed.



The original purpose of this experiment was to determine which type of music decreases the restless naptime behavior of childcare children more, classical music or soft rock. 

The results of the experiment was, the trials using classical music had approximately half the restless movements of the soft rock music trials.

See the graph below.



My hypothesis was that the children would have a more restful nap with classical music rather than soft rock. 

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted. The reason for this is, the amount of movements during the classical music was about half the amount of movements occurring during soft rock. 

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if there would be a different set of results if I were to test adults or teenagers.

If I were to conduct this project again I would record the amount of time that it takes for a child to rest, instead of the amount of movements a child has.




All people need sleep.  Children need more sleep than adults do and that is why they take a rest.  This usually takes place in the afternoon. This experiment is to decide which type of music childcare children will have a more restful sleep with, classical or soft rock.  The results of this experiment will help parents and childcare centers help their children have a more restful sleep. 


According to the Oxford American Dictionary, sleep is " 1 The natural recurring condition of rest in animals, in which there is unconsciousness with the nervous system inactive and muscles relaxed.  2 A spell of this a long sleep.  3 The inert condition of hibernating animals."

What Sleep Does for Your Body

People need sleep so they can function properly.  Sleep helps restore energy to the hard working parts of your body, such as the brain, and the nervous system.  Both slow wave sleep and dreaming sleep are required to maintain the right amount of energy.  The slow wave type of sleep helps build protein and restores energy to the brain and the nervous system, which in return affects the muscles, glands and other parts of the body.  The dreaming part of sleep is important to the mental activities such as learning and reasoning. 

An illness may cause a person to weaken and sleep more than normal.  The reason for the extra sleep is to conserve more energy and resources. Some scientists believe very strongly that sleep helps the body recover from an illness in a quicker time period. 

A survey on sleep and health has been taken by the American Cancer Society.  The results from this survey was that people who acquired seven to eight hours of sleep were healthier than those who obtained less or more sleep than that amount.

Some neurons inside the brain stem and midbrain are active only during REM sleep and some are not.  The combined effects of the "sleep-active and sleep inactive" neurons is why people only twitch and make small movements instead of acting out their dreams.  People that do move about and act out their dreams, often hurting themselves, have out of order inactive and active REM systems. 

Time Periods of Sleep

Humans are known to sleep mostly at night, although it depends on your age.  For example newborns can sleep up to 16 hours a day, but never for very long periods of time.  A two-year-old usually sleeps from 9 to 12 hours with the periods of sleep becoming longer. As an adult, 6 to 7 hours of sleep are needed to revitalize your body.  As you grow older and mature, your sleeping periods form into one long time frame instead of short frequent periods.  When you get to the elderly stage, you return to the pattern of early childhood sleep consisting of a couple of naps and little sleep at night.

REM and NREM Sleep

The two types of sleep are REM and NREM.  REM stands for rapid eye movement and NREM stands for non-rapid eye movement.  REM sleep is measured by the body movement and twitching. NREM sleep has four stages, which are measured with an EEG.  The first stage of NREM is the lightest and the fourth stage is the heaviest.  As you’re sleeping you progress slowly from stage zero to four and then back down to stage zero.  After stage zero you go to REM sleep.  This cycle is repeated throughout the night. The amount of time spent in REM sleep gets longer throughout the night, averaging from about 20-22 percent of the night.

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Health

Sleep is what you are doing when you are not awake.  It is an "event" that repeats itself throughout your life.  Sleep is necessary so your body can properly function.

When people are deprived of sleep, they usually become quick tempered and lose energy, it usually means they are deprived of sleep.  After just two days without sleep, long periods of concentration can be difficult.  If greatly desired, a person can perform well for short periods of time but they are easily distracted.  The person "deprived of sleep" doses off at times and may completely fall asleep unless kept constantly active.  Thinking, seeing, and hearing clearly become troublesome if you go without sleep for three days.  Sometimes people get to the point where they hallucinate and confuse their dreams with reality.  They also may loose concentration in the middle of a sentence.  Going without sleep for 11 days has been the record, but aside from what has been already mentioned, they also become fearful and suspicious.  For example, "they might think that a doctor is an undertaker who has come to bury them or that their food has been poisoned." The effect of sleep deprivation for any amount of time does not have any long-term damage.  Sleep recovery following sleep deprivation shows an increase of both REM and stage four NREM sleep. 


According to the American Dictionary, music is " 1 The art of arranging sounds of voice(s) or instrument(s) or both in a pleasing sequence or combination.  2 The sound(s) or combination(s) produced, a written or printed score for this.  3 Any pleasant sound or series of sounds, such as bird song".

The History of Rock and Roll

The first rock and roll song was produced in the early evening of March 5, 1951, when five musicians, who were known for their Blues songs, recorded something a little different.  A new type of song, which had a loud beat and seemed alive, became popular. 

Over the years numerous songs have been produced in the rock and roll style.  In 1955 rock and roll really made an impact on the world because it was a type of music that both black and white listeners could enjoy.  However, because of prejudice issues, the players had a tough time getting a hit song.  This was mostly due to the fact that the majority of the players were black and the majority of the listeners were white.  By 1955 rock and roll had obviously found its listeners. The task now was to find more people who could actually play it.

The Beatles

Paul McCartney and John Lennon met in Liver Pool, England on July 6, 1957.  They became quick friends and eventually made a pact that together they would become songwriters.  They joined a local group and met George Harrison.  The next year the trio formed a group of their own called The Silver Beetles adding Stu Sucliffe on bass and drummer Pete Best.  Ringo Starr eventually became the group’s official drummer. The group changed their name, and the spelling of Beetles, from The Silver Beetles to The Beatles, and began recording their songs.  The Beatles became famous in England first and then in America after performing on the Ed Sullivan show.  Soon after, The Beatles became the frenzy in both England and America, ruling the number one slot for 4 years. 

In 1968 The Beatles first began to think of breaking up.  They had all become famous individually and wanted to go separate ways.  On December 31, 1970 Paul filed a suit in England to officially break up the group.  All of the members, now solo, produced hit songs and albums.  In 1980 a demented fan in New York shot John.  Some 15 years later the remaining Beatles got back together and produced some amazing music.  According to Ringo " We were four guys who really loved each other."

History of Classical Music

Before 1600 AD music was mostly religious chants written for voices which sang in unison or parallel.  During 1600 AD the first forms of non-religious music evolved.  During this period there was much "religious upheaval."  Some composers went against the tradition of the time and overcame all of the old rules of music.  These composers produced harmonies that conflicted and made impure sounds.  They brought out to the world suspensions, which are musical notes that are "held over from opposing keys."  Unison, convention writing, and parallel were never used.  This was the beginning of the Baroque period (1600-1750). 

Music that was precise with a controlled quality, making the music easy to remember, was called Baroque music.  Some of the dance styles, for example the march, minuet, and gigue were some of the types of music.  Also, Baroque had themes that were melodic, meaning that the theme repeated in altered voices. 

The Classical period (1750-1820) was a time when composers took more freedom. The music went from the "two voice style of the Baroque to a solo line with cords underneath."  The music made at this time was still simple.  It was not only emotional, it sometimes sounded delicate and courteous. 

It was Beethoven who "led the way" into the Romantic period (1820-900).  He began to write very sensitive music as he was going deaf.  His music also lacked ridged structure.  This became a common trait in all of the music produced during that time. 

The next period to take place was the Impressionistic period in which the music was composed to perform images in ones mind.  The composers marked all of their music Rubato, which means, "free flowing."  They also used "colorful harmonies and scales" to create these scenes.  This period of music did not last very long and soon the Contemporary period (1900-present) began. 

The rule in Contemporary music is anything goes.  The established form, harmony, and structure were almost forgotten in writing music, and are only left for history books.  The composers use all types of music in their pieces and create all types of "musical idioms."

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart was born January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria.  His father, Lepold Mozart was concertmaster for the Archbishop of Salzburg, taught him.  Mozart was very skilled at playing the clavier, violin, and the organ at age six.  He could also sight read and improvise (playing music off the top of his head) extremely well.  At the age of six, he also composed five short piano pieces.  Mozart’s father took him on a tour throughout Europe. In 1763 Mozart composed sonatas to be played on the violin and harpsichord.  He then composed a symphony in 1768.  In 1769, he was assigned the position of the Concertmaster to the Archbishop of Salzburg.  Mozart wrote an opera at the age of 14 that was produced under his direction.  This made his reputation, which was already quite good, exceptional.  When Mozart was 21 the courts of Europe rejected him and his music.   Aloysa Weber was the girl that he fell in love with but she did not want to marry him.  This two-year period was the hardest in Mozart’s life because of his mother’s death, the rejection from Aloysa, and the neglect from the aristocrats.  Mozart ended up marrying Constanze Webber (Aloysa Webber’s sister) in 1782.  Mozart died in Vienna in the year 1791 on December 5th. 


Pitch is the highness or lowness of a sound.  It is made by how fast or slow the vibrations of sound waves occur.  When the pitch of something is high it means that the sound waves are fast.  The same thing for a low pitch with the exception of the waves are slow.  There are tones that produce, in a different way, the same sound in changed pitches. Those sounds are what we call an octave apart.  These sounds have different pitches but have the same note, name, and sound.  This is all represented in a chromatic scale. 


Much of the music in the world uses the pentatonic scale, which is a scale using only five sentences.  The pentatonic scale, the one that is most well known, is made up of the black keys on the modern keyboard.  The pentagon scale is not the only scale in the world.  Some other scales are the chromatic scale, B flat scale and a whole lot more. 


All people need sleep so they can function properly.  Sleep helps restore energy to the hard working parts of your body, such as the brain, and the nervous system. The combined effects of the "sleep-active and sleep inactive" neurons is why people only twitch and make small movements instead of acting out their dreams. When people become quick tempered and lose energy, it usually means they are deprived of sleep.  A softer music such as classical, according to my data, helps people rest more efficiently.




Shirly, David, The History of Rock and Roll, Canada, Grolier, 1997

Bego, Mark, The Rock and Roll Almanac, New York, NY, Macmillan, 1996

 The Oxford American Dictionary, New York, NY, Avon Books, 1980

"Sleep", Britannica, 1997

"Mechanisms of Sleep", Encarta 2000, 1999

Hartmann, Earnest, "Sleep", World Book Encyclopedia, 1998

"Mozart, Wolfgang Amedus", Encarta 2000, 1999

Butler David, "Elements of Music", Encarta 2000, 1999

"Introduction to Classical Music", Available, 1-22-00

Coren, Stanley, Sleep Thieves, New York, NY, THE FREE PRESS, 1996





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