Forget tossing and turning. Getting a full night's sleep might be easier than you think: According to new research, mindfulness meditation may help improve your sleep quality.
The study, which was published in JAMA, followed two groups of adults, 55 and older, who suffered from a self-reported moderate amount of sleep disturbances. Half of the participants were assigned at random to participate in a mindfulness meditation intervention. Those in the meditation group took a six-week class that focused on teaching them to track what they were feeling, both physically and mentally, from moment to moment. The other half of the participants took a six-week sleep education program, which taught proper sleep hygiene. Both programs came with homework to practice the new techniques at home and rate how well they were sleeping on a scale from zero to 21.
At the end of the study, those in the sleep education program improved their scores by an average of 1.1 points. Those who focused on meditation improved by 2.8 points—about a 13 percent gain. The bottom line? Learning mindful meditation techniques benefited sleep quality more than learning about how to get a better night's sleep.
While the study focused on participants over age 55, there is evidence that meditation can help people of all ages. Mindfulness mediation might ease anxiety, according to Harvard Health Publications. It may also help with depression symptoms, increase focus, and help people quit smoking. Research suggests that meditation may even slow age-related brain deterioration.
Ready to start meditating at home? Follow these five-minute mediation techniques for a clear, calm mind.