In the last few years a lot of people have worked hard to improve their sleep hygiene, even though the world has been full of nightmare fuel.

For those who have chronic nightmares, better sleep isn’t as easy as buying a sleep mask or putting on a white noise machine.

But according to a new study, part of it may be as easy as finding the right notes on a piano.

Pretty much everybody has nightmares from time to time, but a surprisingly large number of people have a nightmare disorder.

Some estimates put it at 2 to 8 percent of people.

One of the main treatments for chronic nightmares is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Essentially, a practitioner talks through a recurring nightmare with a patient.

Then they rework the story of the dream so that it has a happy outcome rather than a scary one.

The patient can then visualize the revised dream each night before bed.

Often that gets the job done, but some really stubborn nightmares need a little more.

A team based in Geneva had the idea of adding a trigger; specifically, what they called a “neutral” piano chord.

In their study, they played the chord along before bed, while the patients visualized.

They played the same sound when patients entered the sleep stage where dreams usually begin.

The patients who got the piano chords along with the standard therapy had fewer nightmares and more reports of positive dreams than the patients who just had the therapy.

There’s still a lot of research to be done here, but no doubt these initial findings are music to the researchers’ ears.

Last week, an art museum in Düsseldorf, Germany revealed that one of its paintings has been on display upside down for decades!

To be fair, it’s hard to tell: this is a work by Piet Mondrian, and it’s made up of colorful horizontal and vertical stripes.

They only discovered the error because of an archival photo showing it right side up.

That said, they’re leaving it as it is, to make sure it doesn’t get damaged.

A piano chord helped reduce chronic nightmares, a study showed (Washington Post)

Painting by Mondrian has been hanging upside down in German museum for decades (Paudal)

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Photo by Pedagogsajten Familjen Helsingborg via Flickr/Creative Commons