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Mindfulness Meditation for Insomnia

Mindfulness Meditation for Insomnia

Insomnia is the most commonly reported sleep disorder in the United States. The estimated 10% of adults affected by insomnia generally experience poor health outcomes and poor quality of life. Available treatment options include pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). Pharmacotherapy can be complicated due to tolerance issues and the potential risk of side-effects. In addition, access to CBT-I is limited because only a small number of providers are trained to provide it. Recent studies have indicated that mindfulness meditation may be a simple, effective, and safe adjunct to traditional treatment for patients with insomnia.   Analyzing Mindfulness Meditation Mindfulness meditation has been defined as the awareness of the present moment with attitudes of acceptance and openness. It aims to allow those who practice it to respond to stimuli in a non-judgmental manner and let go of certain beliefs, thoughts, or emotions that may cause distress. Mindfulness meditation can also help reduce the number of emotionally arousing or harmful conditioned responses. This can be particularly useful in patients with insomnia because this population is thought to be hyper-aroused and to experience mind-racing and ruminations when trying to fall asleep. “There are logical reasons to consider mindfulness meditation as a treatment for insomnia,” write Joanne S. Martires, MD, Michelle Zeidler, MD, and colleagues in a literature review published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. “Letting go, acceptance, and non-striving are principles in mindfulness meditation that are congruent with stimulus control.” There are two ways in which mindfulness meditation is currently being used to help insomnia patients, explains Dr. Martires. The first is mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which focuses...
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