Insomnia is a widespread problem worldwide, especially among older people, because sleep quality worsens with age. Poor sleep is a risk factor for many disorders, including cardiovascular disease and various cognitive disorders, so it is essential to fight insomnia.
Sleep problems are usually treated with medication or psychological interventions. But scientists from the National University of Singapore have found another simple but effective way to combat insomnia: it is the practice of mindfulness (awareness of current thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, and the practice of accepting experiences without evaluating or reacting to them).
The study involved 127 participants between the ages of 50 and 80 who were divided into two groups: the first group was treated for insomnia using MBTI (Mindfulness-Based Therapy Insomnia). In contrast, the second group received a standardized program for eliminating insomnia by improving their Sleep Hygiene, Education, and Exercise Program (SHEEP).
The MBTI course included simple mindfulness exercises such as mindful eating, meditation, mindful movement, etc. On the other hand, the SHEEP course provided participants with information about human biological rhythms and proper habits to improve sleep quality.
The study results, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, showed that sleep quality improved in both groups, but the MBTI therapy was more effective in relieving insomnia symptoms. Participants in the mindfulness practice group took less time to fall asleep and were less likely to wake up at night.
Mindfulness-based therapy can be a good alternative for people whose standard insomnia treatments have not helped. It is an easier and more effective way to combat difficulty falling asleep,- says Julian Lim, lead author of the study.