Half of the adults over 55 may have trouble falling asleep or getting quality sleep. Researchers were surprised when they found out the best way for these people to sleep. In a clinical study of 49 randomly selected people, seniors found more benefits in a meditation program than in education programs that teach ways to improve rest.
As the results suggest, focusing attention and being aware of the present moment without judging or reacting to thoughts - as taught in meditation - has positive effects not only on sleep but also on daily accumulated fatigue and depression, two conditions that often result from inadequate rest.
Mediation Can Help Older People With Sleep Disorders
David S. Black, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, said that his team was surprised to find that the effect of meditation on sleep quality was broad and went beyond the effect that sleep education programs have.
Mindfulness meditation appears to be of clinical importance because it helps reduce sleep problems, which are increasingly common in the older population, and this effect on sleep appears to lead to a reduction in daily fatigue and symptoms of depression.
50% of adults over the age of 55 will sooner or later experience disorders that include difficulty falling asleep and interruptions of sleep in the middle of the night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, older people's need for rest does not decrease with age, and many seniors are dissatisfied with rest and fatigue during the day.
According to scientists, meditation practice appears to reduce day-to-day fatigue and symptoms of depression in older people.
Researchers Study The Power Of Meditation Practice
In this study, published in Jama International Medicine, the researchers compared two structured conditions: the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) program, a six-week program for two hours a week that introduces participants to meditation techniques, and a program that offers sleep-enhancing strategies such as relaxing before bedtime, monitoring sleep behavior and missing meals before sleep.
The study was conducted using self-completed questionnaires. Future research will focus on a combination of meditation and sleep enhancement programs to determine the benefits of combining aspects of both programs.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, UCLA Older Americans Independence Center, Cousins Center for Psych Immunotherapy - UCLA, Pettit Family Foundation, and Furlotti Family Foundation UCLA researchers contributed to the study.
Treating sleep disorders is but one of the many (till now) hidden benefits of meditation practice. Such techniques that balance the human body's subtle energies have been used since ancient times and have had miraculous health benefits.
Scientists have begun to explore more and more the effects meditation has on the human body, although they have difficulty understanding what this ancient technique is all about and the inner mechanisms and subtle energies it uses. But they can see its effects, and some of the studies published so far are mind-blowing.
If you want to explore the world of meditation practices, we warmly recommend you try Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong). It is a powerful and unique mind-body cultivation practice, with ancient roots, that is doing wonders for mankind, and is always free of cost.