Among older adults, sleep disturbances are frequently complained. However, the problems have very limited therapeutic choices. Approaches from mind-body medicine such as mindfulness meditation may help improve sleep quality in this population group with sleep problems.

A randomized clinical trial investigated the effects of mindful awareness practices (MAPs) intervention and sleep hygiene education (SHE) among older adults with the mean age of 66.3 who were having moderate sleep disturbances (Black et al., 2015). The study detected the symptoms of insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Some inflammatory signaling factors such as nuclear factor (NF)-κB were also tested.

The study found that those in the MAPs group had better sleep quality in comparison with those in the SHE group (Black et al., 2015). In addition, the MAPs group showed better performance in the measurements of the symptoms of insomnia, depression, and fatigue. Moreover, lower levels of NF-κB were observed in both groups over time.

The findings suggest that the community-accessible MAPs intervention may be more effective on improving sleep quality than a structured SHE intervention (Black et al., 2015). Such findings may have clinical implications for using mindfulness-based interventions to alleviate sleep disorders among older adults for sleep-associated daytime problems and for improving their quality of life.


Black DS, O’Reilly GA, Olmstead R, Breen EC, Irwin MR. Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Apr;175(4):494 501. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081.

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