Published last month (February 2015) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a new study shows mindfulness meditation practices have a significant ability to aide sleep.
Mindfulness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” In the case of sleep, an individual might work on being aware of all of the sensations in their body as they are lying in bed. They might consciously work to notice their breathing, the rise and fall of their chest, the feeling of the skin against the bedding, muscles relaxing and so forth. As their mind begins to wander, the practice of mindfulness is to bring the mind back to all of the immediate feelings associated with resting and being present in the restful moment.
According to this most recent study, mindfulness practice helped older adults who had moderate sleep difficulties. According to the study’s authors, sleep disturbances are a medical and public health concern with 50 percent of individuals 55 years and older experiencing some sort of sleep problem. These disturbances are tied to fatigue, disturbed mood, depression, and a decreased quality of life.
The study compared individuals who practiced mindfulness with a group that practiced sleep hygiene techniques (going to bed at a set time, avoiding stimulants after a certain hour, using the bed only for sleep and not watching T.V., etc). The mindfulness group showed greater improvement compared to those in the sleep hygiene group. In addition, the mindfulness group showed less of the associated symptoms of insomnia, depression, and fatigue symptoms.
For more resources on mindfulness visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoLQ3qkh0w0
For more information on sleep Awareness visit: National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org.
Black, D.S. Mindfulness meditation appears to help improve sleep quality. Retrieved February 16 from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/tjnj-mma021215.php