Mindfulness meditation offers hope to insomnia

Insomnia is a highly prevalent problem, which affects an estimated 10 percent of the general population who experience both nighttime and daytime symptoms that would qualify for a diagnosis of insomnia, the inability to sleep .

Conventional treatment for insomnia includes drugs such as Benzodiazepines (lorazepam alprazolam (Xanax), triazolam (Halcion), and temazepam (Restoril), among others) with side effects including respiratory symptoms, daytime drowsiness, memory loss, and odd mood states. Treatment with non-benzodiazepines have the benefit that these drugs are less addictive and short acting, these include zolpidem (Ambien), zopiclone, and zaleplon amongst others and their side effects include nausea, dizziness, nightmares, agitation, and headache. However, mindfulness meditation has been shown to significantly to reduce insomnia severity.

A study published in Behaviour Therapy in 2008 entitled “Combining Mindfulness Meditation with Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Insomnia” has shown mindfulness to be an effective method in dealing with insomnia.

Thirty participants suffering from insomnia were used in the study, the group used sleep-diaries to self report their progress, including quality of sleep, day time sleepiness and day time fatigue. In addition, the group also employed insomnia rating scales as well as completing inventory of mindfulness skills.

The study reports ” the overall patterns of change with treatment demonstrated statistically and clinically significant improvements in several nighttime symptoms of insomnia as well as statistically significant reductions in pre-sleep arousal, sleep effort, and dysfunctional sleep-related cognitions”.

Additionally, the study also found relationship between the number of meditation sessions and changes in sleep related arousal.

Meditation has been shown to be a highly effective, portable and non-toxic method to help address insomnia without any side effects or risk to health

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