Meditation: insomnia help?

Meditation may be an effective behavioural intervention in the treatment of insomnia, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Tuesday, June 9, at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Results indicate that patients saw improvements in subjective sleep quality and sleep diary parameters while practising meditation. Sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, sleep quality and depression improved in patients who used meditation.

According to principal investigator Dr Ramadevi Gourineni, director of the insomnia programme at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Illinois, insomnia is believed to be a 24-hour problem of hyperarousal, and elevated measures of arousals are seen throughout the day.

"Results of the study show that teaching deep relaxation techniques during the daytime can help improve sleep at night," said Gourineni.

How the study was done
The study gathered data from 11 healthy subjects between the ages of 25 and 45 years with chronic primary insomnia. Participants were divided into two intervention groups for two months: Kriya Yoga (a form of meditation that is used to focus internalised attention and has been shown to reduce measures of arousal) and health education. Subjective measures of sleep and depression were collected at baseline and after the two-month period.

Both groups received sleep hygiene education; members of the health education group also received information about health-related topics and how to improve health through exercise, nutrition, weight loss and stress management.

(HealthDay News, June 2009)

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