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Mindfulness Can Help Treat Insomnia, New Trial Shows

Mindfulness Can Help Treat Insomnia, New Trial Shows

A new study has concluded that mindfulness meditation is more effective than a programme of sleep hygiene in treating insomnia in older people.

The study in question was carried out by UCLA and published in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine publication. It can be found here.

UCLA conducted a randomized clinical trial on 49 participants with an average age of 66 who were experiencing moderate levels of sleep disturbance.

Participants either received a 6-week course of 2-hour lessons in sleep hygiene or in mindfulness meditation, as well as homework exercises. Researchers found that those receiving the mindfulness therapy experienced significant improvement compared with trained in sleep hygiene in terms of sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, depression symptoms, fatigue interference and fatigue severity.

Although based on a small sample size, these results add to the growing body of evidence that cultivating a sense of non-judgmental observation and acceptance of one’s non-sleeping state can be an effective treatment for chronic insomnia.

A previous clinical trial, for example, found that a course of mindfulness-based stress reduction was as effective as pharmacotherapy in treating insomnia (see here).

A related technique used to treat insomnia is acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which draws heavily but not exclusively from mindfulness. The pioneer of this in the UK with regards to sleep, is Dr Guy Meadows, who runs The Sleep School, in London. His programme is exceptionally well reviewed by previous participants. Take a look at his website here: http://thesleepschool.org/

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018
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