Can’t fall asleep? Meditate

Getting enough sleep is proving to be a problem for people of all ages and I have written several times about ‘sleep issues’ in this blog (here and here). The NY Times Well blog brought this subject back to my attention today with the post, “Meditation for a Good Night’s Sleep.”

The Times post describes a study published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine (“Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances: A Randomized Clinical Trial”, DOI 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081). The researchers assembled a group of older adults (55 and up) who had reported moderate sleep problems, randomly assigned them to two groups, and looked at how each group responded to different types of therapy. One group received instruction in mindfulness meditation. The other was treated with standard ‘sleep hygiene’ counseling: develop a nighttime routine, knock off caffeine and alcohol. At the end of the study period the meditators reported better sleep improvements than those who used only the standard treatment.