Regularly not being able to get to sleep or stay asleep is a terrible experience. It can leave you feeling drained, agitated, and foggy headed. But Los Angeles area researchers suggest there is new hope in the fight against insomnia, and that hope is mindful meditation.
Researchers from UCLA and USC recruited 49 older individuals (over age 55) with sleep problems to participate in a study. Half were enrolled in a sleep education course and half in a mindful meditation course. The results were interesting to say the least. Public radio reports:
The study found that those enrolled in the meditation course reported better quality sleep and fewer bouts of insomnia than those who got the sleep education classes. And according to the researchers, the improvements were on a par with those conferred by clinical sleep therapy or sleeping pills, though without the side effects.
These findings only study short term response to meditation. A study on long-term sleep benefits of meditation has yet to be conducted.
This study was a collaboration between UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and USC’s Keck School of Medicine. The study was published in the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
These results are hopeful, showing that there are non-pharmaceutical therapies that provide results for those who do not sleep well. Imagine if the therapies were combined – the sleep education course practiced with mindfulness meditation – what then might the results be?
Sleep medication abuse is an ongoing problem. The drugs are highly addictive and can lead to injuries from falls, overdose, and even death. Using non-pharmaceutical sleep therapies can not only improve your sleep, it can help prevent addiction.
If you want to learn more about mindful meditation, the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center provides no cost guided meditation courses online.