A study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, compared the practice with sleep hygiene education (SHE) - a program designed to change poor sleeping habits and set up a bedtime routine. Mindfulness meditation led to a greater improvement in sleep quality.
"Addressing moderate sleep disturbances and sleep-related daytime dysfunction using community-accessible programs is a promising public health approach," write the study authors.
However, they add, despite the medical consequences of sleep problems, they often go untreated in older adults.
Sleeping problems are widespread in the US among older adults, with half of the population aged 55 and older estimated to have some form of sleeping problem, including problems with initiating and maintaining sleep.
Disturbances in the sleep of older adults are associated with numerous health and social problems, including depression, fatigue, mood disturbances and reduced quality of life.
Thankfully, several options for treating sleep disturbances exist. As well as treatment involving drugs and medication, a number of behavioral solutions are available. Sleep hygiene education and mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) have advantages over pharmacotherapy as they are effective both in the short and long term and have no serious contraindications.
In particular, MBIs involve the training of an individual to attend to moment-by-moment experiences and emotions from a non-judgmental perspective. Until now, no studies have focused on the effects of MBIs on sleep disturbances among older adults. The study authors conducted a randomized clinical trial to investigate.