Meditation Promotes Better Sleep in Older Adults

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Mindfulness meditation improved sleep quality for older adults with moderate sleep disturbance compared with a structured program focused on changing poor sleep habits and establishing a bedtime routine (Black DS et al. JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081 [published online February 16, 2015]).


Anita Slomski, MA

The trial randomly assigned 24 individuals 55 years and older (average age, 66 years) to a mindful awareness practices (MAPs) intervention and 25 individuals to sleep hygiene education (SHE); both weekly interventions consisted of 2-hour sessions over 6 weeks. All participants had scores exceeding 5 on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), a self-reported questionnaire assessing sleep disturbances, which suggest poor sleep quality associated with adverse health outcomes. Effectiveness of the interventions in improving sleep quality was determined by between-group differences in the PSQI score relative to baseline.

The MAPs group had average PSQI scores of 10.2 at baseline and 7.4 after the intervention. The SHE group had average PSQI scores of 10.2 at baseline and 9.1 after the intervention. The between-group mean difference was 1.8, with an effect size of 0.89. In contrast, previous studies have found a lower average effect size of 0.79 for all types of behavioral interventions on sleep quality in older adults. Mean effect sizes from pharmacotherapy are 0.87. The MAPs group also showed improvement relative to the SHE group on secondary measures of insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

read more at JAMA