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Sleep Better After a Little Meditation?

Posted: June 10, 2009

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After two months, the meditation group reported improvements in sleep quality, how long it took to get to sleep, total sleep time, total wake time, sleep efficiency and depression, the researchers reported.

Primary insomnia is believed to be a problem of hyperarousal, with high levels of arousal noted 24 hours a day, said lead study author Ramadevi Gourineni, MD, director of the insomnia program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Evanston, Illinois. "Results of the study show that teaching deep relaxation techniques during the daytime can help improve sleep at night," Gourineni said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

About 9.4% of U.S. residents, or an estimated 20 million people, try meditating during a 12-month period, according to a 2007 study by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. People reported using meditation for various health problems, including anxiety, pain, depression, stress and insomnia.

A 2007 review of the scientific literature found some evidence that meditation is associated with health benefits, possibly by causing heart rate and breathing to slow, improving blood flow and reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system (the body's fight-or-flight mechanism).

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