Sleep tight — with a little help from meditation

In what’s being called a “rigorous study,” researchers have determined that mindfulness meditation helped older adults sleep better and, as a result, have fewer problems related to sleeping problems — aka a better quality of life.

Link to the JAMA study is here. And here’s an online New York Times story:

In one group, the adults learned behaviors that could help them develop good sleep hygiene, like establishing a regular bedtime routine and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed. The other group underwent a six-week program on mindfulness meditation — the nonjudgmental awareness of the thoughts and feelings drifting through one’s mind — led by a certified teacher.

At the end of the yearlong study, the people who learned the mindfulness approach had greater improvements in sleep quality and fewer symptoms of insomnia, depression and fatigue than those who received standard care.

The lead author of the study, David S. Black, said mindfulness meditation probably helped settle the brain’s arousal systems. And unlike widely used sleep drugs, it does not have potentially severe side effects, said Dr. Black, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California.

Our important disclaimer, of course: Ignore that stuff about “avoiding caffeine.”

I also think the final quote in the Times story is relevant to an Ashtanga practice: “As compared to attempting mindfulness practice for the first time on your own,” he said, “you are likely to gain the most benefit from a standardized course with an experienced teacher.”

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

2 thoughts on “Sleep tight — with a little help from meditation”

  1. Hi Steve,
    I know you are a great proponent of the use of coffee, but one size does not fit all the people. I can talk about my personal experience, because I do not tolerate very well caffeine. I have tried for many times using coffee but didn’t work for me as I had some discomfortable side effects.

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