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Song stuck in your head? Doctor reveals two science-backed ways to get rid of it


It’s perhaps one of the most irritating bedtime experiences. You’re just about to nod off when you find yourself humming an inane tune – and the song just won’t get out of your head.

Known medically as earworms or stuck song syndrome, studies estimate that around 98 percent of the world’s population suffer from catchy tunes popping up in the head that won’t shift.

Now, one doctor has taken to social media to recommend a handful of science-backed solutions.

According to Dr Michael Mrozinski, an Australia-based sports medicine specialist, University of Harvard researchers conducted studies into effective treatment – and landed on two.

‘Either, go with it and let the song play in your head and try and accept it…which didn’t work for me, or listen to some other songs.’

He added that the researchers recommended specific songs that will do the trick.

This includes the British national anthem, God Save The King, and Karma Chameleon – a track released in 1983 by the British band Culture Club, fronted by Boy George.

He added: ‘I think the best solution is to get out of bed, go for a little walk, try and clear your head.

‘Maybe watch a bit of TV that you enjoy. Try and relax and then go back to bed and try again.

‘Sitting there trying to get to get to sleep when things are going round and round in your brain is a really bad idea and actually just makes you worse off because you get more annoyed.’

Doctors have recommended that extreme cases of so-called stuck song syndrome can be treated with antidepressants

Doctors have recommended that extreme cases of so-called stuck song syndrome can be treated with antidepressants

Dr Mronzinski says that, for about a third of people who suffer this problem, the ‘stuck’ song won’t go away, sometimes for several hours or even days. 

The problem, he adds, can be triggered by periods of stress or heightened emotion. 

A 2016 case report by psychiatrists in the Netherlands compared severe cases of  stuck song syndrome to obsessive compulsive disorder, due to the ‘cognitive itch’ seen in both conditions.

The doctors recommended medication in some circumstances – such as SSRIs that are commonly used to treat depression.

‘Questioning these patients about avoidant behaviour and OCD symptoms is recommended,’ they wrote.’





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