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Last Christmas and the other festive songs that stop you working

Festive songs like George Michael’s White Christmas can be good for productivity or distracting
Festive songs like George Michael’s White Christmas can be good for productivity or distracting - PICTORIAL PRESS LTD/ALAMY

Last Christmas and other festive favourites are bad for productivity, according to experts.

Researchers analysed 200 Christmas tunes and tracked which ones are good and bad for work by analysing beats per minute (bpm) to determine the best rhythm to help your brain focus.

Research found that music between 50 and 80 bpm put your brain in an “alpha state”, which makes you more relaxed, focused and receptive.

This is associated with “eureka” moments, the study said.

Music around 60 bpm can cause the brain to synchronise with the beat causing alpha brainwaves. This alpha brainwave is what makes you feel more relaxed and conscious.

But as the tempo rises the music becomes more distracting as the brain works harder to process the sound.

The most distracting Christmas song was found to be Last Christmas by Ariana Grande at 206 bpm.

The Happiest Christmas Tree by Nat King Cole (205 bpm) and Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby (202 bpm) were respectively the second and third most damaging to productivity.

Other popular Christmas songs, including It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas by Perry Como, Bobby Helms’ Jingle Bell Rock, and All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey, all rank on the distracting list at over 100 bpm.

Meanwhile, Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree is the best for output, at 67 bpm.

Most of the best festive tunes to boost productivity are classics from the 1940s to 1960s, with Sam Smith’s and Brett Eldredge’s covers being the only modern songs on the list.

The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York, one of the most-streamed Christmas songs on Spotify ever, is high on the productive list, with 78 bpm.

A spokesman from CSGOLuck, an online gaming site which commissioned the research, said: “Christmas music brings holiday cheer and a morale boost to the workplace.

“But our study shows you should be careful about what you play in the office, as it could distract and harm productivity.

“Data shows you shouldn’t play danceable songs if you’re trying to concentrate on work, as the tempo is much higher than the recommended amount. Gentler tracks that can be played as background music are best if you’re trying to get work done.”

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