We have written about why sleep on this blog many times before, including articles on how poor sleep affects your memory, shrinks your brain, and ups your Alzheimer’s risk, why you feel tired all the time and why sleep is so important, and even best practices for effective napping. Now, we have an exciting new sleep finding to report.
A recent study from the University of Southern California pitted mindfulness meditation against standard good sleep practices like avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed and establishing a regular nighttime routine. The researchers found that the participants who practiced the meditation experienced more improvements in the quality of sleep and suffered fewer symptoms of insomnia and fatigue than the other participants.
The lead researcher, David S. Black, points out that unlike medical sleep aids, meditation does not have any severe side effects. He added, “Given the many health concerns pertaining to sleep aid medication use in older adults, mindfulness meditation appears to be a safe and sensible health promoting practice to improve sleep quality.”
It’s important to note that the participants in the study practiced mindfulness with a certified instructor.
You can see the study abstract in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.