Mindfulness Meditation for Better Sleep

midfulness-meditationWould a mind-body medicine intervention, called mindfulness meditation, work for older adults with moderate sleep disturbances? A randomized clinical trial was conducted among older adults with moderate sleep disturbances.

A standardized mindful awareness practices (MAPs) intervention or a sleep hygiene education (SHE) intervention was conducted on participants, who received a 6-week intervention with homework. The MAPs group showed more improvement than the SHE group on insomnia symptoms, depression symptoms, fatigue interference, and fatigue severity.

Formal mindfulness-based interventions can possibly serve to lessen sleep problems among older adults in the short term, and the effect appears to carry over into reducing sleep-related daytime impairment issues.

Mindfulness meditation works by helping you understand your own thought process. Studies show that sleep habits improve dramatically when participants were taught to respond to sleep disturbances with mindfulness skills. After meditating regularly, the average time it took participants to fall asleep dropped from 1.5 hours to 15 minutes.

In some cases when your mind is extra busy, it’s best to just let the thoughts flow. Observe the thoughts one at a time, giving them the attention they desire and then move on to the next thought.

Probably the most common technique for helping you get to sleep is mindful breathing. Turn your attention to your breathing rather than the thoughts that keep popping up. You can listen to music or use visual imagery such as a relaxing or calm picture.