Mindfulness Training Improved Sleep Quality In Older Adults

David S. Black, Ph.D., M.P.H. Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine Keck School of Medicine of USC.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David S. Black, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine
Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Black:
Sleep disturbances pose a significant medical and public health
concern for our nation’s aging population. An estimated 50% of people
aged 55 years and older suffer from some form of sleep problem,
including initiating and maintaining sleep. Sleep can be affected by a number of things. There are obvious factors like disturbances, dealing with insomnia or any form of aches and pains. But there is also one that many people have probably not considered. Traffic noise. Just like the factors listed previously, there is always a solution to a problem. There isn’t anything that cannot be fixed. If you are someone that is having trouble sleeping due to the high level of traffic noises around your area, it may be best to look into a site like soundproofpanda.com to find a solution that can help reduce this issue and eventually provide you with a good’s night sleep. Older adults report the highest prevalence of sleep problems compared to younger age groups when quantified by both self-report and biological assessment.

Moderate sleep complaints in older adults are often associated with
deficits in daytime functioning, including elevated levels of fatigue,
disturbed mood such as depressive symptoms and reduced quality of
life, and lead to the onset of clinical insomnia. Addressing moderate
sleep complaints and sleep-related daytime dysfunction using
community-accessible programs is a promising public health approach.
Our main findings indicate that the mindfulness training program,
which is available to the general community, resulted in improvement
in sleep quality at post-intervention relative to a highly active and
standardized sleep hygiene education program. Effect size for
improvement in sleep quality was large (0.89) and of clinical
relevance considering that effect sizes obtained from all types of
behavioral interventions on self-reported sleep quality outcomes
averages 0.76 in older adults. Meta-analyses comparing treatment
modalities indicate that the mean effect size for self-reported sleep
improvements resulting from pharmacotherapy (0.87) (i.e.,
benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine receptor agonists) and behavioral
therapy (0.96) are of medium-to-large magnitude in mixed-age adult
samples with primary insomnia. Thus, our observed changes are
consistent with previous studies and are at the level of a minimally
important difference for insomnia severity. The mindfulness program
also yielded relative improvements on sleep-related daytime
impairments of depression and fatigue symptoms that were of
medium-to-large effect size.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Black: According to our findings, mindfulness meditation appears to have a
role in addressing the prevalent burden of sleep problems in older
adults by remediating their moderate sleep complaints and deficits in
daytime functioning with short-term effects sizes commensurate with
the status quo of clinical treatment approaches for sleep problems.
Strengths of our study include it being the first RCT to examine the
impact of a MBI on sleep disturbances, and solely among older adults.
Enrollment of older adults has high potential health impact as this
population reports the highest prevalence of sleep problems.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Black: Findings from our study suggest that mindfulness meditation might be
introduced to older adults as a short-term solution to remediate their
moderate sleep complaints, although research is needed to determine
possible longer-term effects on sleep. Given that standardized
mindfulness programs are readily delivered in many communities,
dissemination efforts do not serve as a barrier in this instance, and
thus older adults often have immediate access to these programs, which
are offered at relatively low cost. Pending future replication of
these findings, structured mindfulness meditation training appears to
have at least some clinical utility to remediate moderate sleep
problems and sleep-related daytime impairments in older adults.


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. Published online February 16, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081.



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MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & David S. Black, Ph.D., M.P.H. (2015). Mindfulness Training Improved Sleep Quality In Older Adults MedicalResearch.com

Last Updated on February 16, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD